Indian Meal Planning AND Make Ahead Prep List – Who Is Joining Me?

weekly-indian-menu-planningHope you enjoyed the make ahead prep Facebook video share last week :). I had fun sharing videos both in Facebook and Instagram. I made my hubby watch it only to get a feedback that I should comb my hair before recording a video. Lol! I agree.

So so glad this past week is finally over. I was worried for months about leaving from my toddler for 3 days. I should say, he is a trooper. I had been preparing him from the previous week and kept telling him that Amma will be away for 3 days and he needs to be with Appa (I don’t think he understood it completely though).

Hubby said, Chuttu reassured himself that “Amma will be back soon” and became normal the next moment. The second day he was a little upset, but back to normal in few minutes. I came back the third day evening.

On the other hand, I felt like a crap. My work was engaging and kept me busy till the evening. The moment I came back to the room, I felt so weird to be alone in the room without my family. Man, it was HARD 3 days. I spent too much time flipping my baby’s pictures and videos and smiling on my own.

On the menu planning, Hubby and kiddo finished majority of the stuff I prepared and kept telling me they loved all the preps. Yay! 🙂

This Week’s Meal Planning:



For the next few weeks, our lunch menu is going have all rice based.

  • Rice, one pot drumstick sambar, and okra fry
  • Lemon rice, coconut rice, and curd rice with potato curry
  • Rice, eggplant curry, and cluster beans usili
  • Tomato rice with raita – didn’t get a chance to make it this week. Will be making it next week.
  • Rice, beans sambar, and eggplant fry
  • Paneer biriyani with raita
  • Out


  • Baked pastamy family LOVES this recipe and I try to sneak some vegetables in it when possible.
  • Idly with tomato sambar (again, one of family favorites)
  • Homemade pizza (didn’t get a chance to make it this week. So, will be making it next week instead)
  • One pot pongal with coconut chutney
  • Dosa with coriander chutney
  • Adai with avial
  • Out


  • Various lentils with tadka
  • Store bought sweet potato french fries
  • Fruits and smoothies
  • Carrots with dip
  • Popcorn
  • Chia seeds raw energy balls

MAKE AHEAD PREP FOR TOMORROW (Follow me in Facebook page and/or Instagram)

Tomorrow I’m planning to make,

  • Chia seeds energy balls – Less than 5 minutes to make it and it’s sooo yummy and good for you
    • Storage instruction: can be kept outside
  • Idly/dosa dough
    • Storage instruction: Can be kept in the fridge
  • Pearl millet adai dough – soak the millet and lentils for 4-5 hours before grinding for dough
    • Storage instruction: I put the dough in the freezer bags and store in the freezer for later use
  • Cut all the vegetables bought in store today
    • Storage instruction: Again, I put them into small batches in freezer bags and store them in the freezer for later use. Freezing retains nutrition value and freshness
  • Make smoothie packs and freeze them
    • Storage instruction: cut various fruits you’d like to have in your smoothie, put small batches in freezer bags, and store them

I’d love it if you can join me in the make ahead prep tomorrow.

What Is The Real Need To Show Indian Women As Ignorant In Movies?

hqdefaultI avoid writing opinion posts. But let me tell you, outright crazy things can trigger certain thoughts that need to be shared. Sometimes our Indian cinema goes beyond pathetic level that they decide to show women as ignorant and stupid even in this 21st century.

Husband and I were watching an Indian movie today that came out in 2016. Throughout the movie, the heroine was called “stupid” by the hero and she was acting real stupid in the movie as well. What’s the need to portray her in such a level? Nowadays, women are equally capable of handling anything and this is such a disappointment when they think it’s ok to project women this way. I even asked my husband if I’m the only one who feels this way. He himself agreed this is not correct.

Both men and women have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully all these ….wood’s will soon realize that we are smarter than ever.

Rant over 🙂

photo credit

Look How Much Money Is Left In My September Grocery Budget

weekly-grocery-shopping-picturesIt’s so good to be home finally from my work travel. I picked up Chuttu from daycare early today and spent my rest of the day exclusively with him. Hope your “hump day” is as good as mine 😉

As promised in the first grocery budgeting post, here is the recap of all the grocery purchases I have made from the last time I shared my budget.

A little recap: My monthly grocery budget is $400. I try to buy organic products as much as possible and try to eat healthy at home. Please check the grocery budgeting series on why I’m sharing my grocery shopping in the blog.

I had $302.24 left in my grocery budget when last week started. This past couple of weeks, I went to Indian store once, local grocery store 3 times and Costco once.

Indian store:

I completely forgot to take a picture of my shopping. All I remember is, I bought toor dal and the rest is a blur. But my budgeting tool told me I spent $21.08 in the Indian store.


1 transaction and I spent: $42.21 (top left picture). No matter how conscious I am, I always spend a little more than what I planned when shopping at Costco.

Local grocery store:

In 3 transactions, I spent: $89.27 (rest of the pictures)

Total: $302.24 – ($21.08 + $42.21 + $89.27) = $149.68 is left in the budget. I have to do some major vegetables and fruits shopping this week. Hopefully I’ll save at least $50 this month and use this leftover September money next month for my bulk purchases.

How is your grocery budget coming along this month? Do share if you have any wins.

One Pot Indian Recipes – Moong Dal Sambar


One of the easy indian recipes I make every week is moong dal sambar. If you are a south Indian, you might already know this recipe. You literally need one pot to make it and it’s quite delicious. Did I say it takes only 15 minutes to make from start to finish. Use either regular pressure cooker or Instant Pot to make it.


  • Yellow split moong dal – 1/2 cup
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tablespoon
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tablesoon
  • Curry leaves – 10 leaves
  • Garlic – 5 pods
  • Asafoetida – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Water – 1.5 cups
  • Chilli powder – 1 tablespoon or green chilli – 1
  • Salt – to taste
  • Any vegetable (optional) – 1 cup


  1. Heat the cooker and saute the moong dal until it turns golden brown. It typically takes 2-3 minutes
  2. Keep the sauteed moong dal aside and put the cooker back on stove
  3. Pour oil on the empty cooker
  4. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and asafoetida
  5. Once the mustard seeds started popping, add cumin seeds, curry leaves and garlic
  6. Saute for a minute until they’re cooked
  7. Add the rest of the ingredients including water and close the lid
  8. Let it whistle 5-6 times in medium heat
  9. Once it’s cooled down, mash the sambar well until the garlic and everything is combined well.

I like this sambar more than toor dal sambar. It’s quite delicious and goes well with rice, idly, dosa, and even roti.

Instant Pot Method:

  1. Switch ON saute mode and follow the above directions until step 7
  2. Once the lid is closed, cancel the “Saute” mode and press “Manual” model and adjust the timer from 30 minutes to 15 minutes.

Added on 09/22/2016:

Reader Comment in Facebook page: I tried this recipe today for dinner and it was excellent.Thank you for sharing such an excellent recipe.

Indian Menu Planning and Make Ahead Planning + Travel

weekly-indian-menu-planningThis weekend, I’m spending as much time as possible with my little fella before I leave for work travel tomorrow. It’s the first time I’m going to be away from him for a couple of days and my heart is already HEAVY :(. Wish me luck. I need to get through this without breaking into half.

That said, below is this week’s menu plan:


  • Cereal
  • Frozen waffle
  • Oatmeal with fruits
  • Scrambled eggs with smoothie
  • Peanut butter oatmeal
  • Breakfast biscuit with jam {got frozen biscuits from Costco that I’ll be baking. Family loves it}


  • Rice and Sambar
  • Rice and Rasam
  • Rice, Yogurt gravy (mor kuzhambu), and lentil with vegetable (paruppu usili)
  • Lemon rice, coconut rice, and potato curry
  • Rice, sambar, and bitter guard curry
  • Out
  • Tomato rice with raita


  • Dosa with chutney
  • Baked Pasta
  • Egg Paratta
  • Pongal with Sambar
  • Idly with tomato gravy
  • Adai with Avial
  • Out



It’s going to be a busy day tomorrow spending time with the kiddo and preparing menu for the family before my trip. So, the make-ahead prep below is quite simple. I’ll share the pictures in Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to follow them if you’d like to see the pictures.

  • Baked Pasta
  • Sambar
  • Tamarind Gravy
  • Rasam
  • Onion chutney