Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Dinner in 20 Minutes, and a Blog Birthday

I make dinner in 20 minutes- that is what I claimed in this post. I got several comments and e-mails asking me- Really? How? Is it true or am I exaggerating?

Dinner prep in my home starts at 6 PM and we eat at 7 PM. 20 minutes is my average hands-on time in the kitchen when the burners are turned on and there is a hum of chopping and stirring; by 6:20 I am out of the kitchen, flipping through magazines on the couch or browsing through my favorite blogs. The stove or oven is off sometime between then and 6:45. The food rests for 15 minutes and then we eat.

These are some of my favorite tips for putting a quick meal together. There are no surprises here but these little things do matter:
  1. The need for speed. I work very fast in the kitchen. Some of it has to do with practice- I have been cooking quick dinners on a daily basis for almost 10 years. A lot of it has to do with my innate personality- I am not a perfectionist but I tend to do almost everything very fast. If you tend to be overly slow and methodical, it might be worthwhile to practice your chopping skills by using cooking classes or videos, or to invest in a better knife. Chopping tends to be the most time consuming step in a recipe.
  2. Controlled multi-tasking. I multi-task to some extent. There's no time to measure and lay out all the ingredients in little bowls. So the pan is already heating with oil as I start chopping onions and garlic. As a dish is simmering, I am already putting away things and cleaning the counters.
  3. Simplicity. We eat simple meals with one or two dishes. There are no multi-course dinners in my home- all I can promise is that everything will be fresh and tasty. 
  4. Plan the menu. As my tea brews in the morning (a full 12 hours before dinner prep), I look through the fridge, freezer and pantry and decide what to make for dinner that night. This is because my creativity is at an all-time low in the evenings. I can also soak lentils/beans, thaw something in the refrigerator if required, and cut down on cooking time in the evening. 
  5. Don't overcook food. I never bother with long simmering for weekday meals. Rather, I tend to cook with fairly high heat, then turn the heat off and let the food rest for a few minutes to bring the flavors together. Crunchy vegetables taste much better in any case. 
  6. Set the stage for a peaceful cooking session. I set the stage for the evening cooking event by doing the breakfast dishes and wiping down the counters before I leave for work in the morning. It only takes 10 minutes at most but it is soothing to walk into a beautifully tidy and clean kitchen in the evening. In the same way, it pays to toss out all the clutter from the kitchen and only keep what is really necessary to cook efficiently. 
  7. Use time-saving appliances. Like most Indian cooks, I cannot live without my pressure cooker- a magical appliance when it comes to speedy cooking. I bought a rice cooker earlier this year and again, it has been saving us time on a daily basis. I also use my immersion blender for quick soups and curries, food processor for quick shredding and dough kneading and the microwave for quickly thawing food and cooking certain vegetables like winter squash.
  8. Accept help from family members. Although you are hearing the word "I" a lot in this list, the fact is that V is an equal partner in making dinner. We love to cook together as we chat about the day. Dinner prep can be quality family time and not a chore.
  9. Make extra dinner and pack lunches. I think of time spent making dinner as an investment and it makes sense to get two meals out of it. We make 4 portions of each dish for dinner, then pack lunches for the next day. Cooking once a day is far less exhausting than if every meal has to be cooked at separate times. 
  10. Be kind to yourself. Every few days, we take a planned break from the cooking routine and order take-out from our favorite Thai restaurant or Chinese restaurant or pizza place. It is hard to cook when you are hungry and tired. I always treat myself to a cup of tea and a snack before cooking dinner. 
Over the years, I have come up with a long list of dishes that V and I (and visiting friends and family) enjoy eating for dinner. The general strategy is to mix and match: Usually I pick one thing from the list of main dishes and another from the list of sides. When you do the math, the possibilities are truly endless. 

Main dishes, with a few examples from each category:

1. Dal: We have dozens of dal recipes in the dinner rotation, from the amtis, usal and pithale that I grew up with to regional specialties from other parts of India. Many of the dals I make already contain vegetables, like this radish dal.





2. Curry: This includes bean-based curries like chana masala and rajma, yogurt-based kadhi, Thai inspired curries with a peanut or coconut base, and other curry dishes like mock kheema. I sometimes serve curries with bread instead of rice as a variation. Pav bhaji is quick enough to be a weeknight meal. Stews like chilis are yet another version of curries. 


3. Sandwiches: Vegetable cheese sandwiches are a perennial favorite in my home.









4. Pulao, khichdi and fried rice: These are easy way to combine all kinds of ingredients into one dish.






5. Pasta and noodles: In winter, it is often pasta with cheese sauces, and in summer, pesto pasta salad and pad thai. Every few months, we enjoy maggi with vegetables.








6. Tortilla-based dishes: These include kidney bean wraps, burritos and quesadillas. We also eat whole wheat tortillas with subzi as a quick Indian meal. 








7. Egg dishes: Egg curry, burji, and egg pulao all come together in less than 20 minutes. 

8. Idli and dosa: Breakfast for dinner is very popular in my home. Every two weeks, I make a big batch of dosa batter. When there's no batter on hand, there are always instant dosas like rawa dosa and tomato omelet.








Sides:


1. Subzi (bhaaji in Marathi): Indian-style spiced stir-fried vegetables; there are a million variations of these, either using a single vegetable in the subzi or combinations of vegetables. Subzis work equally well as a side to dal-rice or yogurt-rice and as a stuffing for tortillas or sandwiches.


2. Roasted vegetables: A great option for chopping vegetables into chunks, tossing with olive oil and seasonings, and letting them roast unsupervised in the oven. We love sweet potato fries, roasted cauliflower and roasted green beans. 



3. Soup: If the main dish contains legumes or eggs, I often make a vegetable soup. If the main dish does not have a lot of protein, I tend to make soups with beans or dairy, like broccoli-cheese or black bean pumpkin. Rasam is a wonderful soup for winter.




4. Salads: This is a general term for all kinds of dishes with raw vegetables, whether it is salad greens from the store or shredded vegetables like cabbage, cucumber, carrots, beets, simply dressed with peanut powder and lemon juice or yogurt.

None of these dishes I have mentioned take me longer than 15 to 20 minutes of active prep time or 30 to 45 minutes of total time. By keeping a well-stocked kitchen, borrowing heavily from all cuisines and rotating the dishes we enjoy eating, dinner time is something we look forward to every night.

Do you agree with my list? If you any tips or ideas to add, please leave a comment. We could all use some fresh ideas for putting delicious dinners on the table. 

* * *
One Hot Stove turns 6 years old this week! This blog has given me so much: a platform to hone my cooking skills and writing skills, real life opportunities and friends from all over the world. Most of all, it has taught me a very important life lesson, that if you have a passion for something and work on it just a little bit every day, over the years it can build into quite a large body of work.

This birthday celebration calls for some cake. Here is a bundt cake I made last weekend to share with my soup swapping friends. The recipe is Lemon Bliss Cake from the King Arthur blog and website. It makes a huge cake as you can see but by the end of the evening, there were only a few crumbs left on this cake stand- it is absolutely delicious in a classic timeless way. This is a cake that I will make again and again, especially since I splurged and bought the lemon oil that the recipe calls for.

Going forward with One Hot Stove, I intend to keep writing new posts as often as I can, but without stressing out about how frequently I post. The blog is a hobby and a joy and not a second job, and I intend to keep it that way. When I have something to say, when there is an exciting new recipe to be shared, I will certainly share it. But my goal for this new blog year is to focus on quality rather than quantity.

After all, the poor blog has to compete with a dozen other things that I also enjoy doing in my free time- reading and knitting and dancing, and now, a new toy that came home with me last week:


To everyone who takes the time to read my blog: Thank you for being a cherished part of my life, and for letting me and One Hot Stove be a tiny part of yours.

130 comments:

  1. I found myself nodding at pretty much everything in this post (I aspire to it all, at any rate, even if I don't always succeed!!). I feel like printing it out and putting the list of mix and match options on the fridge door.

    Happy blog birthday!! Yours was one of the first blogs I began to read, and I have made many things from the A-Z of Marathi cuisine series you did. May our cooking, knitting, sewing!! and regional worlds continue to intersect!

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  2. A VERY happy birthday to OHS! Looking forward to many , many more:)

    Dinner in under 20 mins.! Amazing is all I can say. I need to pull up my socks, I need an hour (with small interruptions from Little S)- nevertheless, I need to do some prep work, will save me time no doubt. Thank you for the reminder :)
    Also looking fwd to some exciting projects from your new sewing m/c. Good Luck.

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  3. Congrats!! It is always a pleasure to go thru ur posts! Keep 'em coming!!

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  4. Congratulations on so many years of active blogging ! This post was very informative and very practical...
    Love the blog, its always fun to read and the recipes are so do-able...

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  5. 6!!! You are a big girl OHS. Enjoy your sixth and have a ball.
    Love you.

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  6. Congrats on the new toy! Plus HBD One hot stove!

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  7. Congrats on turning 6!!!
    I was thinking of requesting you to do a series about 20 minute dinner. I am glad other bloggers cut to the chase. Love this post!
    Do keep posting menus of what you make over the week so it gives us ideas.

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  8. Heartiest congratulations on ur blog bday..It was nice of you to share how u manage your cooking

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  9. Happy Birthday to One Hot Stove ! :)

    I really enjoyed reading this post and I agree with all these wonderful ideas.. :) some I do and some I dont, but a really informative post !

    Thanks dear..

    Mala

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  10. Congratulations Nupur! oooh, am excited to see all the stuff you're going to sew...Good Luck!!

    ps: the crochet throw looks quite nice in the backdrop.

    Meera

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  11. Congrats! I work almost at the same rate too as I hate toiling in the kitchen!

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  12. Six years! Happy blog birthday! Keep up the good work, Nupur!

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  13. Happy birthday One Hot Stove,Nupur enjoyed being a part of your journey and it has been lots of fun. Wishing you many many birthday more

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  14. Happy Blog Birthday. 6 Years! WOW!

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  15. Congrats OHS and Nupur for 6 yrs of great posts.

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  16. Happy birthday and congratulations on having such a wonderful blog! I am always inspired by what you post and by all means, please give your self a periodic and much needed rest. Also, I'm thrilled to see your latest addition to the family, Mrs. Sewing Machine. EEE! I can't wait to see what you make :)

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  17. Happy birthday to One Hot Stove..Omg Six Years..keep rocking..

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  18. You are awesome. I wanted to say something a little more intelligent but I can't come up with anything at the moment... :)

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  19. Love the new design, Nupur. Much easier to get at your foolproof, creative recipes! I've been an avid reader of this blog since 2005- and decided that your sixth anniversary is a good time to de-lurk myself and let you know how many times I've used your recipes! My favorites: pav bhaji, ragda patties, mushroom chettinad, and the sri lankan pumpkin soup- I'm sure I'm leaving out many more that I can't recall offhand. Thanks for taking on this blog!

    -Maithili

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  20. Happy Birthday, OHS!! Best wishes to you. You rock!!

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  21. happy blog anniversary!
    Much of my dinners are ready in the same 20 minutes as yours. I pretty much do the same you do to make weekday dinners. Unfortunately there is no further tips I can offer, apart from the fact that I have noticed that if I make one recipe over and over again this cuts preparation time even further. As a person who by inclination never does exactly the same thing twice, it was an important step to notice that, and actually a major motivation to start having an online diary for my recipes.

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  22. Happy 6th One Hot Stove! Yours was the first blog I ever read and you always take me by surprise - recipes, crochet, knit and Dale tales! Great work and keep fueling your passion....!!

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  23. Happy birthday One Hot Stove!!!

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  24. Congratulations Nupur! I am an ardent fan of your blog and hope keep blogging regularly:)

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  25. Happy Birthday to your blog and wishing many many more! Love your blog totally :)

    Smita

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  26. Congrats, Nupur! Your posts always inspire. I can't wait to see what you do with your new sewing machine!

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  27. Good post, Nupur!! I'm going to take pointers and put it in a binder and use ir for meal planning. I have never done meal planning before so this would come in very handy. Thanks!!

    Congrats on the sewing machine! I'm a sewist and I enjoy sewing as well (just don't ask about my stash) and I hope you enjoy this new hobby as your love for yarn. :)

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  28. Congratulations, Nupur ! you have truly been a part of my life :-) I land here atleast twice a week - stealing your meal-ideas ..admiring your hand-made gifts n projects, n enjoying your every entry ..thank you !

    shashi

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  29. Happy birthday #6 to One Hot Stove. There are no rules for blogging, so just do it however it works for you. And have fun with the new sewing machine! (I have one almost like that which I rarely use!)

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  30. Happy Birthday One Hot Stove! Wishing you many many more in the future..

    Extremely informative post, Nupur! Very handy hints.
    Hoping to learn more new recipes.

    Also, waiting to see what gets churned out of the new sewing machine. :)

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  31. Happy b'day One Hot Stove! I enjoying reading your posts and looking forward to more.. also looking fwd to see your new projects with your new toy..

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  32. Congratulations on the 6th blog b'day Nupur. Except for point 4 & a little bit of 1, my tips would match with yours.
    Great post and thanks for the menu ideas.

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  33. Happy six years! Thank you for teaching me so much about Indian cooking. May the blog continue to bring you joy, as you have brought joy to your readers.

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  34. Congratulations, Nupur! I was just wondering this morning why there was no birthday post yet!

    I love One Hot Stove!

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  35. A very happy blog birthday to you Nupur! I've been a reader since the last couple of years and have picked up several tips and recipes from your blog. This is a great post to celebrate the special day with.

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  36. I'm a long-time reader, but have never posted before. I did want to say congratulations, though, and share one of my favorite time-saving tips. I keep chopped and pre-sauteed onions and tomatoes on-hand in the freezer. This cuts back on so much time as it can be an easy base for so many rices and dishes without having to take the time for chopping veggies or waiting for them to soften.

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  37. Wow Nupur, six years, that must feel proud. I am nearing one year birthday for my blog and I feel very like a proud mommy.

    I so can related to your tips as I use almost all of them (except taking help from family members, because for this they must be willing.... lol).

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  38. A very happy birthday to OHS and keep rocking.

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  39. Congrats on your blog birthday and the new toy :) I've been meaning to gift myself the same thing since some time. Hope you will post some of your sewing work on your blog as well.

    And I too agree on making a double portion of dinner so that it can be packed into lunch for the next day. Its been a usual routine for me since the last 6-7 yrs.

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  40. Happy 6th b'day bloggy baby...It always a wonderful feeling to read your posts. wish you many more such fun and tasty years.

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  41. Thank you so much for all you have offered to us over the years. I love your blog, and find it uplifting and inspirational.

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  42. Congratulations Nupur, what a splendid journey it turned out to be !! I started reading your blog back in 2006, has been one of my favorites ever since, thank you very much for blogging.

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  43. Congrats Nupur.

    Very Thoughtful post. Best part I liked is your thrust on making daily cooking a happy & enjoyable chore.

    I am from Mumbai and my house and work place are relatively close by and leave home by 9.00 in the morning and back by 7.00 p.m. Dinner time is around 8.00 p.m. I cook the veggies for both lunch and dinner in the morning. Yes, so planning is very important. At nights I do cutting, chopping etc for the next day so only 'phodni' is to be done the next day. Veggies are simple involving phodni most of the time.

    I have the luxury of a bai who makes rotis in the morning (lunch & dinner quantity included). I have taught her how to make ghadichya polya so that the rotis stay good till night. We warm the rotis at night before serving.

    Once a week Khichdi / pulao and the siblings of this category is included in the dinner menu but lunch is always poli & bhaji. Soups, Kadhi, Papad, koshimbir, kheer etc are dinner accompaniments.

    Chaat items, dosa, idli also are on the dinner menu once a fortnight. I make extra chutneys to last for another serving of chaats. Making chaat then is not very time consuming.

    In all, I spend around an 45 mins in the kitchen per day which includes morning tea, breakfast (a must in my house which includes pohe, upma, sandwiches, sheera etc), evening cooking around 15 minutes for dinner and 10-20 minutes preparing for next day's veggies, amti, grinding for idli,dosa .... This time sometimes also includes making evening snacks for my son who returns from college in the evening and needs something healthy and filling but not dinner. Extra rotis are handy so that I can stuff a lot of things and make a healthy franky. Alongwith rice, dal I boil potatoes in the pressure cooker and keep in the fridge for such quick preparations.


    I go to the gym for around an hour in the morning.

    SET THE STAGE FOR A PEACEFUL COOKING SESSION : Most important for me. I can't start with clearing clutter.

    Goes without saying that hotels in our area thrive on our once in a while ordering.

    Bageshri

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  44. Happy anniversary, dear Nupur and One Hot Stove! Here's to many, many more milestone celebrations here!

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  45. Six glorious years! Yours was one of the first food blogs I read, and has stayed a firm favourite throughout. You're an inspiration, you know, Nupur? :) Congrats, and may your blog and all your other hobbies continue forever!

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  46. Congratulations on OHS completing 6 years! Its a comfort zone filled with recipes, handicrafts, tidbits et all... I enjoy reading your posts and look forward to seeing a new one in my mail box each day. I wish you all the best! May your stove always be lit and may you spread the warmth forever with your wonderful posts and continue to awe the world with your creations.

    -Sukshma

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  47. Happy blog-birthday Nupur! Love your blog. You cook and write beautifully. Here's to many more happy returns of the day.
    Would love to read about some of the products of your knitting/sewing labours of love...
    Reeta

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  48. Congratulations NUPUR for completing 6 years!!! OHS is always an inspiration for Kahugiri:-)

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  49. A Very Happy birthday to OHS. I have always loved and in awe of ur posts and do wish that you post a lot but I can understand the time constraints of people. Hoping for many more inspiring posts from U in future. God Bless

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  50. HBD OHS !! Lovely Post..

    I was Nodding for almost all points..I don't guarantee 20 but yeah even I'm out within 30 mins for sure :))

    Especially loved your Menu ideas, will through them again n again.

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  51. Nupur Congratulations on the six long years but delicious they have been. Wishing you many more and I don't have to stress how much joy your posts usually bring.

    We have similar styles in the kitchen. I can't stand a dirty kitchen and a meal is only 20-30 minutes away. I hope a lot of people make use of your tips and enjoy healthy fresh meals.

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  52. 6 years!!! Which means it's been a little less than 6 years since I started reading food blogs, yours was the first food blog I discovered and what a find it was. Happy anniversary OHS and Nupur, keep on rocking, inspiring, yarn-crafting and all the other awesome stuff you do.

    Mamatha

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  53. Congratulations dear Nupur on your blog's 6th Birthday and here's to wishing you many more tasty years to come.

    Loved your dinner tips. I agree with you that deciding what to make cuts down on a lot of time and things go faster once you have a plan.

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  54. What an informative and beautiful post. Yours was the first blog i started to read and its the best. What more to say, this blog comes from a person from my hometown, its very dear to me, Happy blog Birthday!!!!

    Uma Karadge

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  55. Many many congratulations Nupur!
    I wish I were able to complete my cooking in around an hour's time. It takes me about 2 hrs to cook for dinner and lunch together.
    Guess what, hubby dear had gifted me a brand new kenmore computerized sewing machine this new year. I have been only doing a few needed repairs here and there until I get the hang of the new device. Never worked on a computerized machine before, mom had a singer machine which I used to stitch shilwars. I want to learn to stitch shirts as well as I wear shirt-shilwar dupatta mostly at home.
    Do post your projects with your new machine as well.
    Congratulations once again, and please keep it coming.

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  56. Happy Birthday One Hot Stove! Needless to say, I cherish this blog oh so much :)

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  57. Happy Birthday OHS! Great work Nupur! your passion for cooking, knitting, Dale, Crochet amazes and inspires me all the time. Wish you all the best and looking forward to your stitching projects. That way I will start using my brother machine which is sitting in the box for last 2 yrs :)

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  58. Happy Anniversary OHS! Thanx NUPUR for sharing all your wonderful culinary skills . Your blog is an enjoyable 'Read' always ! Thanx for keeping everyone's kitchen fires burning along with yours!

    love

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  59. Congratulations on the blog birthday, Nupur. I am also a huge believer in minimizing time spent in the kitchen and, like you, I start out by setting my skillet on the fire and then going through all the chopping, dicing, blending, etc. But I definitely am not organized enough to look at the ingredients available each morning in my fridge and map out dinner-- I usually think up my menu as I am pulling the skillet out of the shelf. :)

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  60. Wow... 6 years! A very happy b'day Dear OHS! Thank you Nupur for all the wonderful posts and many more to come.

    I pretty much cook the same way you do. I am TOTALLY with you on point # 5 & 6. It's absolutely important to have the kitchen clutter free for a peaceful cooking experience. I too use the appliances wherever I can...makes your life a lot easier.

    Keep up the good work!

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  61. Congrats Nupur, Love you and your blog..

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  62. Like good wine, you have only gotten better over the years, Nupur. I have learned and enjoyed so much from your site, and your warmth and generosity shine through in each and every post.
    All the very best, and I look forward to many more years of One Hot Stove and Dale Tales!
    Kamini.

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  63. congratulations! and keep going!

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  64. Hi Nupur! I love this post and all of the sharing and cooking moxie you piled in it! I admire your dedication--and six years of blogging is certainly something to celebrate! Congrats! Oh, and NOW. . . Welcome to the sewing world--you will love it. Next up, you'll be needing a dress form--I love mine!

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  65. Happy blog birthday!

    Your saving time in the kitchen tips are great -- I realized that I really need to work on #6. Our kitchen seems to be in a constant state of mess/clutter from which there is no reprieve, and this definitely adds time to the cooking process :(

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  66. Congratulations Nupur and thank you for the blog with all its super simple and delicious recipes and for getting to know a wonderful person like you.

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  67. Congratulations Nupur - you were one of the first blogs I came across and got sucked into the world of blogging pretty quickly - you are an inspiration! :)

    The most important thing in my list which makes me spend the least time in the kitchen is being organised and multi tasking - all burners in use is my motto :) Thanks for that great post

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  68. Happy Birthday my dearest blog! Thank you for keeping your blog so alive, informative and interesting Nupur! I don't find much time to blog hop lately, but just can't stay away from yours. :)

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  69. Happy Birthday to one of my greatest inspirations, both in food and in writing...Rock ON!!!

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  70. congratulations on 6 years of blogging - it is such an achievement

    and am envious of you for your 20 minutes - I confess I just don't get organised enough. I find I take a while to chop all the vegies and often I am trying new dishes so it is not intuitive - however I love cooking enough to have leftovers so I can have a break some nights

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  71. I cook a lot like you do, Nupur, including that cup of tea that must come first! No time to fuss in the kitchen every day.

    Even with help in the kitchen, i find it best to cook in the evening and eat leftovers for lunch; makes it easier for me to work properly in my home-office.

    Six, wow! Congratulations.

    I too bought a new sewing machine 2 months backs; haven't had time to use it yet! But the sweater I started a few years ago, will get finished this season it seems!

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  72. btw, I forgot to mention I made your cabbage cucumber salad that you posted in Sailu's blog, when you did a guest post about Maharastrain cuisine

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  73. hi nupur, many happy returns on ur blog birthday,
    i absolutely love reading ur blog... i love even revisiting what u had written in the earlier years...
    i loved this article about saving time in the kitchen..i m quite jealous of ur 20 minutes achievement, and i hope i can reach that too...takes me almost double the time...

    One big time saving tip for me, though not necessarily the best, is to use frozen or canned veggies instead of fresh...

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  74. Happy Blog birthday Nupur! You and your blog have been quite inspiring to me always and this post on 20 minute cooking is highly inspiring :)

    I have been obsessed with yarn lately i was thinking of sending you the pictures of some of my knits and crochet but never found time :(

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  75. Happy blog birthday! I've really enjoyed getting to know you better via these recipes. And vice-versa :)

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  76. Congratulations on completing 6 years of blogging Nupur. You are an inspiration to me. After reading your some of the latest posts I have been trying to decrease the food waste etc. I wanted to do a post like this-fast cooking, but never got to it. You have some great points here, which I need to follow too.
    Here we learn so much, not only food.
    I can't wait to see your creations with sewing machine.

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  77. Hi Nupur,

    Love your blog, If i need a recipe, I always cross reference with you blog!

    I think one- meal dishes such as dal-bati, chalolya(Dal-dhorki), ratatoullie, baked dished crock-pot meal etc , help me a lot to speed up dinner making process.

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  78. desiknitter- Thank you- I love that I ran into you in Ravelry land :) And yes, while typing the mix and match options, I was thinking the same, I should write them down instead of keeping the list in my head so I remember to keep favorites in the dinner rotation.

    Manasi- Thank you, my dear! It does not matter if it takes you an hour, as long as you enjoy it and little S gets to participate :)

    harini-jaya- Thanks!

    Arch- Thank you, easy and do-able is my absolute number 1 requirement for cooking anything :)

    BongMom- I know- 6 years sounds way too long to be obsessing over something :) Love you too, and MISS you, hope life is great at your end.

    Anjali- Thanks, I need to figure out how to use my new toy first :D

    Sangeetha- Thanks! What I make over the week is just combinations of what's mentioned here. Like lunch today was steamed rice (rice cooker) and rasam-like tomato dal (pressure cooker).

    EC- Thank you!

    Mala- Glad you enjoyed it!

    Meera- Thanks :) Yes, the crochet throw is on display and I like that homey touch.

    Preeti Kashyap- Exactly- I too want to enjoy cooking, not be tied down to the kitchen every single moment I am at home.

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  79. Sra- Thank you so much!

    Sreelu- Thanks- it really has been a fun journey :)

    Simran- Thanks- I know, it does not feel like 6 years.

    Mika- Thank you; yours was one of the few other Indian blogs back then, and I really enjoyed it :)

    Holly- I'm calling my sewing machine Big Brother LOL. I am so lost on what to make; sewing requires a ton of supplies I have to say.

    Priya- Thanks :)

    Lakshmi- LOL goodness you are too sweet!

    Maithili- Thanks for sticking with me from the beginning! And I am so glad you got the chance to try some of the recipes.

    Meera- And you rock too! Thanks, Meera, I so enjoy learning new things on your blog.

    lacaffetierarosa- You are so right, there are some recipes I can make while half-asleep because of sheer practice. Much as I like to try new things, the old and tried recipes keep the everyday meals alive.

    Ashwini- Thank you so much! I take myself by surprise too when I do such crazy things as getting another hobby all of a sudden, like sewing :)

    Smita- Thanks! You can be sure I will continue to blog as much as I can, as long as there are interesting recipes to write about.

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  80. Manisha- Thank you! Right now, I am attempting to sew straight lines on my sewing machine LOL

    Kay- I've never done formal meal planning either, I just roughly think of what I want to make every week.
    You sew? Awesome- I might try and contact you for some tips- I am an absolute beginner, reading the sewing machine manual and trying to thread the machine!

    shashi- Thanks for making me part of your life- now that is a true honor!

    Kalyn- Thank you! I'm so glad to be part of the food blogging community :)

    Medha- Thank you :) Don't expect any fancy sewing here, I am working on sewing sort-of straight lines!

    Usha- Thanks!

    Pavani- Thanks- I so enjoy your blog too, and good for you that you can plan meals on the spot.

    Lydia- I'm glad you feel like you learn something about Indian cooking here, because I for one always learn something new on your blog!

    Shvetha- But this was posted on the 1st of Feb, and the birthday is on the 3rd :) Thanks- you are very sweet!

    N- Thank you :)

    Priya- Thanks for taking the time to say hello! Thanks for the freezer tip, I can see how that would save a good chunk of time.

    Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal- The firsy year birthday is a very special one!
    But why don't your family members want to help? That doesn't sound very fair!

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  81. Jayasree- Thanks!

    Sarah- If I get around to figuring out how to use this contraption, I certainly will :) Hope you manage to buy one for yourself too!

    Sayantani- What a nice thing to say, thank you!

    Diane- Thank you for saying that, coming from you it means a lot!

    archana- Thank you for being such a long time reader, it really has been an unexpectedly fulfilling experience, this little blog.

    Bageshri- Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and tips. I agree, chaat is a great way to make meals at home really fun.

    Vani- Thank you very much!

    Shyam- And yours was among the earliest ones I read too! And still love reading :) Thanks for being a friend over the years!

    Sukshma- Thank you for saying such kind things about my blog. I am so glad you find comfort here, that's the most important thing as far as I am concerned.

    Reeta- Thanks! I post all my knitting projects on another site but should try and post pics here too more regularly.

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  82. Khaugiri- Thank you :) :)

    Radhika- Thanks! I'll continue to post as often as I can, you can count on that.

    Kanchan- 30 minutes is great! Thanks for the wishes :)

    indosungod- Thank you for saying that- it means a LOT coming from you. Yes, I always hope that more and more people will give home cooking a shot and fall in love with it. Increases the quality of life exponentially.

    Mamatha- You have been such a wonderful friend, always there with a kind word and a thoughtful comment, thanks for being there Mamatha!

    Laavanya- Thank you! Yes, the plan is sometimes the hardest for me, after that, it is all auto pilot :)

    Uma- Thanks for reading my blog, you are so sweet! I hope we get a chance to meet and catch up one of these days.

    Mona- How fun that you have a new sewing machine! The minute I got my machine, my friend Neighbor Girl showed up with two jeans to repair :) which I still have not figured out how to do.

    Sharan- Thank you- you are so nice!

    sonali- You have a Brother machine too?? I hope we can both figure out how to use these things! :)

    Vaishali- Good for you, being able to plan dinners on the fly! Yes, the mise en place is a foreign concept if you want quick quick dinners.

    Amruta- Thanks :) Glad to know you also value a clutter free kitchen, less is more as far as kitchen items are concerned.

    Madhuli- Thank you!

    Kamini- Thank you for saying that. Your love and support has been such a precious gift over the years- I mean it. Dale says hello, he has been romping in the snow.

    chandrima- Thanks!

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  83. Kelly- I am going to hit you up for some sewing tips! I think I'll need a dress form several years from now. Right now I am learning to thread the machine :)

    Melissa- You cook a LOT so no wonder your kitchen looks like a busy active zone! But yes, getting rid of unnecessary stuff really helps in the long run.

    malu- Thank you- that's a sweet thing to say!

    Miri- I am SO glad you started blogging, because I love your blog :) all burners going is dangerous in my hands, I do two at the most! Maybe two and the oven :)

    Shweta- Thank you for taking the time to read my blog- I'll try and keep it interesting for you :)

    ohtastensee- Thank you Denny!!!

    Johanna GGG- Thanks :) Oh yes trying a new recipe can be quite time consuming!

    Anita- I so agree that cooking once a day is more time efficient whether you work in a home office or elsewhere. Yay for your sweater, I'd love to see the finished picture if you have time to post it.

    Usha- Thanks for trying the salad, I make it all the time in summer.

    birdie- For me, fresh veggies take only a minute or two more than frozen, but we all have to find what works for us! Thanks for reading my blog!

    koki- I'd love to see pics of your knitting and crochet if you find the time :)

    Niranjana- Thanks! I love your book reviews, always find new material for my reading list thanks to you.

    Shilpa- And you are a mega inspiration to me! I would love your tips on quick cooking too!

    Shabs- Thank you! Oh yes, stews and baked dishes are awesome for quick dinners.

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  84. Better late than never! Congratulations on 6th OHS birthday! Wish you and OHS many more years ahead! This is an interesting post. Congrats on getting a sewing machine! Happy cooking, blogging, sewing, crocheting and whatever you do in your life! :)

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  85. Happy bday.. i am really really late :)
    Hey i shared an award with u.. please follow this link :)
    http://tahemeemshaik.blogspot.com/2011/02/its-raining-awards.html

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  86. Thanks for the post and sharing your plans. It was an eye opener. Though I am cooking for the past 10 yrs,havent drawn any timetable like this.But after reading your post it has made me to think and act wisely.

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  87. Dear Nupur,

    First and foremost, Heartiest Congratulations on ur blog turning 6...heres to many more of such blog anniversaries for u :))
    U and One Hot Stove have become a part of our lives now and it was an absolute pleasure interacting with you... I must also give u credit for my blog becoming a food blog bcos I joined ur Blogging Marathon in dec 2009.....
    U are a fantastic cook and a wonderful writer...
    Wishing you Happiness and Success always

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  88. Happy Blog Birthday, Nupur! Your blog has been such a wonderful resource for me while planning meals and is one of my all-time favorite blogs! *hugs* and here's to many more blog birthdays!!

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  89. Congratulations dear Nupur,

    You have always been my inspiration..I took up knitting after reading your blog and now I am super impressed by your ability to churn up healthy dinners in less than 30 mins...

    Love your blog. I've been a silent follower for nearly 5 years now. Keep up the good work

    Padma

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  90. So I totally stole your idea and made rawa dosa for dinner last night! Worked great and was definitely quick :)

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  91. Congratulations on the 6th birthday of one hot stove and for your purchase as well :) Sewing machine is one thing you will enjoy for a long time and find lots of good ways to make use of!

    Like others I was nodding all the way through your tips, though I must say I have failed cooking at home miserably for last few months. Around six months back I took up a project at work which I knew was going to be stressful but rewarding at the end (which it totally is and a source of pride now that it has completed!), I had been cooking home for many years prior and thought I could easily manage.

    But be and behold, my home cooking plans were utter failure! I was working 8am-7:30pm, taking a dinner break with my husband for an hour and back to work at 9pm-11:30pm to co-ordinate with eastern offices.. I was so exhausted when I came home that making dinner was honestly the last thing on my mind. Going out or takeouts became the fav for mid week (wed-fri). One thing I found very helpful was a filled snack cupboard.. which can work like magic when you are dead-tired and need a quick boost.

    Anyway, digressing.. I got into a post-mortem of how my home-cooking plans failed last few months. Nice post, made me think a lot!

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  92. ok, this is totally non-food related and random but, I saw this on a blog and thought you'd love it. Since, you're a knitter, you might have spare yarn for this.

    http://papernstitch.com/product/yarn-wreath-felt-handmade-door-decoration-soft-taupe-12in

    Also, Google yarn wreath tutorials.
    Love your blog!

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  93. Oh and Happy Birthday OHS! I think the one area I need to improve on is working fast in the kitchen. But, prepping veggies over the weekend and making a weekly menu plan helps me a ton. I get a weekly CSA share from a local farm. So, I have to plan a little extra, find recipes for veggies we haven't tried before etc. Recently tried your cabbage zunka after getting one too many cabbages in the share. Was yum and will be a regular now. Thanks for all your work!

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  94. I've trolled your blog silently for quite a long time, but breaking the silence now. Happy Birthday, OHS and wish you many, many more!!

    As a former Bombay-ite, your recipe for pav bhaji is the closest I'll get to the real deal. And your sabudhana kichadi....never, ever sticky!!

    Wish you continued success!

    and regarding your new toy - Oh, Brother! :)

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  95. well now u have graduated from kindergarten and u are a seasoned blogger.. u don't need to hear from me that u are one of my fav blogs.:)

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  96. Hi, I am new to blogging and love to follow your blog..sorry I am a little late but here's wishing OHS a very Happy Birthday!!..and love the tips for the 20min meal.

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  97. a happy birthday to one of the most resourceful and welcoming food blogs on the internet. well done, nupur, v and dale.

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  98. Congrats, Nupur! I really love your blog and all the tips.. thanks for these. Recently I have been cooking 3 times a day thanks to my Indian relatives visitng us. I agree with you, much of the preperations help with minimising cooking.. one tip that I can add is that I tend to freeze lentils (toor dal).. this helps me make quick sambar or rasam or plain amti soon. Also when I get time I chop and freeze veggies, helps me on a bad day.. otherwise I pretty much follow the same norm.. thanks for all your tips.

    Archana

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  99. Congrats on ur blog anniversary. Those are interesting recipes.

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  100. Happy Birthday to this lovely inspiring blog. 6 Years!!!

    I hear you about the 20 minutes dinner. Same it is with me. Most of the days I get back home from all the activities and I get about 1/2 an hour to arrange, cook and serve dinner at 6:30 to my kids. Speed is my way:-), all four burners and simple, fresh but wholesome meals. i have to add here and brag that my kids are not whiners and they will eat whatever they get :) and that helps a lot!

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  101. Happy blog birthday nupur and many congratulations...wishing you many more wonderful years of great food and practical wisdom sharing. Ohs has always remained an inspiration to cook and eat healthy and live simply. Good luck.

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  102. Hi Nupur,

    I forgot to mention that I put on music depending on my mood. Morning its mostly FM where hearing the non-stop non-sense and humming the songs makes my day and cooking great. Five songs + lot of chit chat = food is ready, kitchen neat and clean.

    Sundays when I am on cleaning spree again FM or Kishori Amonkar / Pandit Jasraj. Kishori Amonkar's SAHELA RE = cleaning done, kitchen neat & clean.
    Bageshri

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  103. Sonia- Thank you so much for the sweet wishes :)

    Julie/Julia- Thanks :)

    shriannalakshmi- Well you don't have to make any sort of time table- do whatever works for you!

    Rujuta- Thank you so much, that is very kind of you! Wishing you the very same.

    Lavanya- Thank you, and hugs right back at ya!

    Padma- How fun that you are knitting too- thanks for the wishes!

    Sharan- Glad you enjoyed the rawa dosa dinner, breakfast for dinner is always quick and tasty :)

    PJ- Hello- nice to see you again! Kudos to you for taking on a challenging project and succeeding at it. I think it is wonderful that you went with the flow, adjusted your schedule and put up with many changes in your routine for a few months, and were rewarded with career success! Hope you get to take a nice vacation at the end of it all :)

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  104. Anu- Oh yes I have seen tons of those yarn wreaths and yes, they are adorable.
    How wonderful that you get a CSA- what a great way to enjoy a variety of fresh veggies. I'm glad the cabbage zunka recipe worked for you.

    maya- Thanks for delurking to say hello :) I'm very glad those two recipes worked for you- they are among my favorites!

    Mallugirl- Thank you for saying that- and you know how much I love reading your blog too!

    Avanti- Thank you so much :)

    Jugalbandi- Thank you very much, coming from you it means a lot!

    Archana- Oh yes, with guests I find myself having to cook much more frequently too. I freeze dal too, prepping veggies is a good idea, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Nithu- Thanks!

    Soma- Thank you! I rarely have 4 burners on at the same time, that kind of multitasking is a bit much for me :) and kudos to your kids for being good eaters, you are very lucky.

    arundati- Thank you so much for saying that!

    Bageshri- Oh yes music definitely perks up the mood!

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  105. Happy Birthday to OHS. Wishing you, V and Dale many more delicious anniversaries.

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  106. Happy 6th birthday one hot stove,congrats nupur.

    And the list of dinner ideas is awsome..however can you elaborate your posting or may be do another post about the combinations too..i mean you just left the choice to us to choose from each category for eg.....if you make some dal what are the other items you have on the table is it pulka or what comb is good.

    am a big confused cook....

    thanks
    pranavi

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  107. Just came to your blog and I am loving it. I have just started cooking and I too multi-task all the time. I try to be like you too, working fast and making simple meals for weekdays. Have a lot of reading to do on your blog! :)

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  108. Thanks for the wishes nupur. Happy B'day :)
    With the little one in our lives now, I thought I was the master multi tasker till I read this post. These days I buy all veggies at one go and even chop and store ginger, garlic and chilies, onions etc etc., So I can just put a bit of this and that and dinner is ready. I agree on the one pot dishes, they make life look so simple!

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  109. Thank u so much for those handy tips...yes they do save ur time when it comes to juggling between work and home...Keep up the good work:)

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  110. I'm not too surprised at the idea of making dinner in 20 minutes. I often have to make a well made dinner in a quick amount of time. Usually when I get home from work, I have to whip up dinner before I head off to school.

    If you can prep fast, it's hardly impossible!

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  111. Happy Birthday One hot Stove!
    Thanks for the tips :)
    I have a super easy & yummy chop and put everything in the pressure cooker chicken curry in coconut milk which I also make into potatoes peas and channa curry and boiled egg & potato curry:

    http://magpiesrecipes.blogspot.com/2011/01/chicken-curry-in-hurry-for-kerala.html

    Also congratulations on your sewing machine too! A friend sent me her old one and I have no idea what to do with it, but am excited to learn! do share resources if you know of anything online, like ravelry for knitters and crocheters.

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  112. Happy blog birthday! Also, there should be a set of knitting needles next to that sewing machine!

    Zanna from Ravelry

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  113. Hi,
    I am a regular reader and a big fan of your blog, recipes and your writing style.
    I tried a couple things from your blog this week- the tomato omlete, Indian style french toast.
    Both came out really well.
    Just wanted to thank you for your blog.
    -Mukta

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  114. Happy blog birthday! Great tips too. Oh, and lovely sewing machine--would love to see what you're making!

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  115. Dear Nupur,

    Posting a comment after a real long time ...but thats not relative to the number of times I visit your blog.... :)

    Loved your quick cooking write-up ... I agree to all that you wrote as I do practice the same at home...

    "Happy Birthday One Hot Stove" !!! WOW !!!
    I have been visiting your blog for the past 4 some years - and all I can say is you have done a FAB job so far !!!

    Wishing you all the very best for many many years of OHS.

    Love,
    Leena

    P.S: How's my pal Dale ?

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  116. I loved that Vegetable cheese sandwiches..I have just started cooking and really wanna learn to make such delicious dishes you shared here..
    Bye the way Happy blog birthday nupur and many congratulations...!!!

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  117. Thanks for all the awesome dinner tips! I turn to my rice cooker often and it is one of my favorite appliances to use! I've made a couple of efforts to make dinner lists but after reading this I think I will try to compile all of my lists!

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  118. Hi Nupur, haven't heard a peep from OHS in a month! Hope everything is well at ur end and u come back to blogging soon.

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  119. Hey Nupur.. A very very Happy Birthday to One Hot Stove! You are right, boond boond se banta hai sagar types! :) This was such a good post with handy tips! Cheers!

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  120. Wow,

    To think I live a more ten miles away from you and I have been late by 119 people in wishing you on this special occassion!! Best wishes Nupur and wishing you many more returns of this lovely day! Lovely pics and of course I love the sewing machine but do u have the time???

    Shobha

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  121. Not to put any pressure on you or anything....but you've been quiet for a long time. Hope all is well!

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  122. Mandira- Thank you :)

    Pranavi- We enjoy all the different combinations in my home. There's no need to be confused- I would suggest that you try different combinations and see which ones are most popular with you and your family. By trial you'll find your favorites.

    Neena S- I'm glad you found my blog and I hope you enjoy reading it!

    ruchikacooks- I agree, a little prep ahead of time really cuts down on the daily time you need for cooking. And one pot dishes RULE :D

    sans- Thanks.

    Fare Necessities- No, there's nothing surprising at all about making quick dinners. This post is an attempt to swap ideas and tips to make it happen.

    Magpie- I SO wish there was a Ravelry for sewing but there isn't as far as I know. For now I am bookmarking sewing tutorials, then I have to collect some supplies and give them a try!

    Zanna- Thanks :) Oh the knitting needles are always a big part of my life no matter what else is going on!

    Purti- I'm so very glad the recipes worked for you- thanks for the feedback!

    Saee- Thanks :) Once I start using the machine, I'll definitely share the projects I make.

    Leena- Thank you for saying those sweet things! Thanks for reading and supporting my blog, Leena! Dale is doing great- I'll soon post his latest pics in a week or so :)

    Indian Recipe Book- Thanks!

    Sammie- I've been using my rice cooker a lot too :)

    Manasi- I am doing just great, thanks for checking in. Just enjoying a nice blog break but I'll get back to posting regularly this weekend, I hope (if I try a new recipe).

    SS- Thanks so much!

    Shobha- Thanks so much for the wishes! Oh I always find the time to do things I love :)

    Kamini- I know- I haven't been trying new recipes and that's kind of a must for food blogging :D but I'll get back in the swing of things this weekend.

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  123. Hey Nupur, congrats on the milestone! I think I am the last person on this earth to wish you! Sorry about that! I am always a fan of ur blog :)

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  124. Best wishes for your blog to grow more and more! Hardwork pays!

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  125. Nupur,
    The mixed vegetable pickle I know will stay fresh for 3 weeks outside for sure and in the refrigerator maybe 2 months. I don't have experience with this kind but garlic pickle which I make more or less the same way statyed fresh for 4 weeks outside. The quantity of oil will make it stay longer. Mine has fairly liberal amount.
    HTH.

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  126. Hi Nupur,
    Yours is one of the first blogs, I've started reading regularly. Hence, I've got an award for you at my blog. Do drop by and pick it up.

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  127. Speed is of essence... always :-)

    Congratulations on the blog's 6th anniversary. For some reason, this stopped updating on my reader and I thought you hadn't blogged in some time... silly me.

    I've been busy. We are blessed with a baby boy :-)

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  128. Dear Nupur, I loved all the techinques you have stated for making a quick meal. I am trying to follow them - the first step being leaving the kitchen counters clean :)
    Thanks ton !
    Reh

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  129. Hi I tried the lemon bliss cake .. turned out awesome though it does not look as good as yours...:) :) I come back to your site occasionally when I want a good read and always end up finding something interesting...cheers!

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  130. Wow! You can cook for me any time!

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