Mor Kozhambu

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This is me saying hello from Mumbai. I got here over the weekend to spend a week with my parents. Every time I plan a visit to my parents’ place, I have visions of having strong filter coffee while reading the newspaper in the morning, lounging around the sofa the entire day watching pointless television serials, getting my favourite dishes piping hot and fresh and spending time with my friends talking about everything and nothing. But what actually happens is I am rushing from one place to another cursing the Mumbai traffic, gulping down the coffee in a minute,  shopping in a frenzy and meeting so many people but talking jut a few sentences and rushing again. The only thing that remains constant is mom managing to make all my favourite dishes despite any crazy schedule we have.

One of my favourite dishes is this mor kozhambu. I love my mom’s version but I never manage to nail it and so I picked this recipe online despite my mother fuming. This is the last week of this Mega Marathon and I am showcasing miscallenous proteins – from diary based to flour based to eggs. 

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Mor Kozhambu ( curd based sambhar) is a creamy concoction of curds, coriander seeds, some lady’s fingers and few spices. It goes very well with beans parupu usili and rice.

Protein – Curds

Recipe from here 

Serves 3-4

WHAT WE NEED

Lady’s fingers                     5-6

Canola oil                            2 tsp

Curds                                    3 cups

Turmeric                             1/4 tsp

Salt

Coconut, grated                  1/2 cup

Green chillies                      3-4

Split pigeon peas                 1 tsp

Coriander seeds                  2 tsp

Cumin seeds                         1 tsp

Raw rice                                1/2 tsp

Coconut oil                            1 tsp

Mustard seeds                      1/2 tsp

Curry leaves                          2 sprigs


WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the split pigeon peas, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and raw rice in hot water for 10 minutes
  • Cut the lady’s fingers into 3″ pieces and fry them in the canola oil for 4-5 minutes with salt till it is cooked
  • Drain the water and grind the soaked ingredients along with green chillies and coconut to a fine paste. Add little water, if needed
  • Take the curds in a vessel and whisk it well
  • Add the turmeric powder and salt and mix well
  • Add the lady’s fingers and ground paste and mix well
  • Cook on medium low flame till it comes to a boil
  • Simmer for 3-4 minutes and take off the heat
  • Heat coconut oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds and curry leaves
  • Pour it over the mor kozhambu
  • Enjoy it with rice, Adai or sevai

NOTES

  1. The lady’s finger can be replaced with ash gourd or chow chow. These do not need to be sautéed. Cook them in a little water for 5-6 minutes and add to the curds

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’
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Poppy Seed Waffles

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This is the last day of the week and I am using poppy seeds for my final dish this week. The first three days were for the three popular nuts – cashews, almonds and pistachios and the next three days for the seeds – chia seeds, flaxseeds and now poppy seeds.

I bought some poppy seeds quite a while back to make some Karnataka special dishes in my bid to inculcate more local dishes into our daily meals. But like always, I got distracted by the next bread recipe and the poppy seeds made sad faces from the pantry every day. 

Does it ever happen to you that you are stuck with a craving for a particular taste or flavour for days on end for no reason at all? I have been craving some lemon flavours for the past few weeks. No idea why but the lemon in my fridge are done faster than you can say nimbu pani.

So I looked for a lemon flavoured recipe with poppy seeds and landed on to this one. The daughter, who loves my regular waffle recipe loved this one too as did the husband. So I can safely say this one was a success!
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Protein – Poppy seeds

Recipe from here

Makes 14 small waffles

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                   3/4 cup

Baking powder                       1 tsp

Baking soda                             1/4 tsp

Salt                                             1/4 tsp

Sugar                                         2 tbsp

Lemon zest                              1 1/2 tsp

Oil / melted butter.                3 tbsp

Egg                                            1

Lemon juice                            4 tsp

Milk                                          8-10 tbsp

Poppy seeds                            4 tsp

 

WHAT TO DO

  •  Preheat the oven to 220C
  • Whisk together the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • Mix the sugar with lemon zest by rubbing the zest together with the sugar to ensure it releases its flavours
  • Add the lemon and sugar to the dry ingredients
  • Whisk the egg lightly
  • Add the lemon juice and milk to the egg and mix 
  • Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients 
  • Add the poppy seeds
  • Mix to ensure no dry flour is left in the bowl
  • Pour the batter into the waffle mould till almost full
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or till the top is golden brown
  • Let it rest for 2-3 minutes before de-moulding 
  • Serve warm with honey or maple syrup 
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. You can also cook the waffles in the waffle iron. I use the silicon waffle mould

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme ‘Protein Rich Dishes’
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Flaxseed Molaga Podi

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This dish has been on my to do list for the longest, just after baguette, pretzel, malai kofta, kanjeevaram Idli….ok, I clearly have a very lengthy to do list. But this was one of the first dishes I made for this marathon primarily because my regular molaga podi was almost done. At home, the one jar I cannot afford to keep empty is the molaga podi because if there is an emergency and you had to grab your important stuff and run, the husband would pick our daughter and then the molaga podi and then some documents, cash and then probably check on me. Grr
So this time I mixed some flaxseeds with the lentils and red chillies and the flavour was amazing, not to mention the other health advantages of flaxseeds.

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I reworked my regular molaga podi recipe to include flaxseeds. If you are making this the first time, you need to keep in mind that different red chillies have different spicy quotients. So I suggest that you keep 2 tbsp of the ground res chillies aside and mix the balance with the lentils. If you find that the podi is not spicy enough, you can add the balance ground chilly powder else use it for dals and curries. I jave reduced the number of chillies from that recipe since I moved to Bangalore and found that the chillies are spicier here than what I got in Malaysia.

Protein – Flaxseeds, Bengal gram, Split black gram

Makes around 1 1/2 cups

WHAT WE NEED

Dried red chillies                  25

Bengal gram / chana dal      1/3 cup

Split black gram/ urad dal   1/3 cup

Flaxseeds                                 1/3 cup

White sesame seeds              1 tbsp

Oil                                             2 tsp

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Cut the stem from the dried red chillies
  • Heat a pan and dry roast the sesame seeds till they start popping
  • Set aside to cool
  • Heat the same pan and add 1/2 tsp oil
  • Add the red chillies and fry them for 2-3 minutes on low flame till it begins to get a darker colour
  • Ensure it does not turn black
  • Set aside to cool
  • In the same pan, add 1/2 tsp of oil and fry the Bengal gram till it starts turning golden brown
  • Set aside to cool
  • Repeat the same procedure for urad dal and flaxseeds separately
  • Transfer the chillies to a mixer and blend to a very coarse powder
  • Add the sesame seeds, lentils salt and flaxseeds and blend to a coarse powder
  • Enjoy with idli, dosa, etc!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80

Chia seed Cookies

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Finally the cake is done, cut and eaten and I can pack up my cake fears and store it away until next year. I was worried the entire day about what the husband would think about the cake, if he would like it or not. The problem is that if he likes the cake, he would say, ‘you bake so well. You should do it more often’ and if he doesn’t he would say, ‘you had to bake just one cake in the entire year and you could still not get it right?’ It is like being between the devil and the ….well, devil. I was so frightened of frosting that I finished innumerable long pending activities in a bid to postpone the frosting. Finally I started frosting just an hour before the husband was due to arrive and finished it in time. 

He was so surprised seeing the cake that he couldn’t say a word. I like that!

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I am terrified of eggless cakes. It is either a jinx or I am doing some humongous error each time because they never ever turn out good. When I told my parents about my annual cake baking adventure, they suddenly professed a desire to taste some of it. Since I am off to visit them tomorrow, I figured I had to take some over for them. But they don’t eat eggs and the only thing I am more scared of than baking eggless cakes is offering them to my perfectionist mom. Then when I baked my usual egg version of the cake, it turned out to be a disaster. It tasted really good but surprisingly the structure was off. Then I luckily landed on a eggless cake recipe which to my absolute shock, turned out really good. So yay for me! I got to eat a lot of cake because of this entire chaos and I got a decent enough cake for the husband to cut and celebrate his birthday. 

Now on to the real dish of this post -these a,axing lemon flavoured chia seed cookies. I made them quite big and eating one was quite a task and the daughter finished half with significant effort. So if you want, you could make smaller ones for it to be more manageable. But otherwise this is an amazing cookie recipe. It was a vegan recipe which I adapted to my requirements. I used yogurt instead of applesauce and buckwheat flour instead of almond flour to keep it protein rich. I absolutely loved the coconut oil flavour and fragrance from the cookies. This is a one bowl recipe and so it is as easy as it is chewy and flavorful.

I have been telling you too many stories today. Off to the recipe now –
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Protein – Chia seeds, Buckwheat flour

Recipe adapted from here

Makes 10 large cookies

WHAT WE NEED

Lemon zest                      1 tbsp

Lemon juice                     2 tbsp

Yogurt                                3 tbsp

Chia seeds                         2 tbsp

Semi solid coconut oil    3 tbsp

Sugar                                  1/3 cup

Buckwheat flour               1/4 cup

All purpose flour               1 cup

Baking powder                   1 tsp

Salt                                         1/8 tsp

Sugar & salt for coating
WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the lemon zest, lemon juice, yogurt, coconut oil, chia seeds and sugar in a bowl till the sugar dissolves
  • Set it aside for 2 minutes
  • Add the buckwheat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder and salt and mix well to form a dough
  • The dough needs to be soft. If it is too sticky, add 1 tbsp of flour. If it is too dry then add few drops of oil or water and mix
  • Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 175C
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper
  • Mix 1 tbsp of sugar and a generous pinch of salt in a plate
  • Take out the dough from the refrigerator
  • Take a small pinch of dough and roll it into a smooth ball
  • Roll the ball in the plate mixed with sugar and salt
  • Place it on the baking tray and press it down so that it is flat
  • These cookies don’t spread much and so you don’t need to leave too much space between 2 cookies on the baking tray
  • Bake for 10-11 minutes and cool for 10 minutes
  • Store at room temperature for 2 days
  • Enjoy them with some milk!

NOTES

  1. The buckwheat flour can be replaced with almond flour, wholewheat flour or all purpose flour
  2. Buckwheat flour tends to absorb more moisture making the dough a little dry. If you are not using buckwheat then reduce the yogurt to 2 tbsp
  3. You can add a pinch of turmeric to get the yellow colour
  4. Semi solid coconut oil is when the coconut oil starts solidifying during cooler weather and is not easy flowing liquid

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80

Dryfruit Milk / Masala Doodh

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It is that time of the year again when I need to bake a cake – the husband’s birthday. I just realised that he is travelling every other year on his birthday and so this is only the third cake I am baking. The first few years were easy. We stayed with my in-laws and didn’t have an oven. Then we moved to Bangalore and I bought an oven and started this blog. The husband then started his dialogue – ‘You have an oven and a blog yet you don’t bake a cake for my birthday.’ How to explain to him that I bought the oven to bake bread not cake. So this has kind of become an annual ritual except for when he travels.

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Now baking cake and baking bread are two completely different things. But few people get that. Whenever I meet someone new and mention my baking and blog, the first thing they ask me is if I can bake a cake for them / someone they know. This is very similar to people asking me to file their tax returns when they hear I am a Chartered Accountant. It is very hard in both cases to explain that while it might seem similar, the stuff I do is very different from what they think I do. So I end up not mentioning either my profession or passion and now people think I am good for nothing. Life is tough!

I know that there is no connection between this and the dish for today. But one of the reasons I started the blog is to be able to rant about stuff. So there. Today’s dish is a simple and satisfying masala doodh. My default method was to warm the milk and mix the ground dry fruits to it and wonder why it does not taste similar to what I get in restaurants. When I had to pick a protein rich dish for this marathon, I figured it was time to explore the mystery of the masala milk and discover the secret behind the difference. Well, the secret, just like for most things, is simply more time and patience. And more sugar, but we shall ignore that.

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Protein – Pistachios and Almonds

Serves 2

Recipe from here

WHAT WE NEED

Milk                                     3 cups

Saffron                                a generous pinch

Cardamom powder          1/4 tsp

Nutmeg powder                a pinch

Almonds                             8

Pistachios                           8

Sugar                                   2-3 tbsp

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Boil the milk in a deep pan / vessel
  • Once it comes to a boil, simmer it for 12-15 minutes and stir frequently till the milk reduces in quantity and becomes slightly thick
  • While the milk is simmering, blanch the almonds and pistachios and peel the skin
  • Grind the two nuts to a coarse powder
  • Add the saffron, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and sugar to the milk and mix well
  • Simmer for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the almonds and pistachios and mix well
  • Serve warm or cold
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the mega marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80

Honey Roasted Almonds 

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Today, we have a quick almond snack. This is the second day of the week in which I will be posting recipes of protein rich nuts and seeds. The daughter loves almonds and this made her eat them all the more. What more to ask for!

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Protein – Almonds

Recipe from here

WHAT WE NEED

Honey                             2 tbsp

Cinnamon powder       1/4 tsp

Almonds                         1  cup

Salt                                   1/4 tsp heaped
WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven at 175C
  • Heat the honey in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute on low power
  • Add the cinnamon and almonds to the honey and mix well
  • Line a baking tray with parchement paper
  • Spread the almonds on parchment paper
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes
  • Take the tray out once after 6 minutes and give it a shake
  • Let it cool completely
  • Transfer it to a bowl and mix with salt
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. Let the almonds cool completely before transferring to the bowl. I did not wait long enough and the skin on the almonds came off. While it did not make an impact on the taste, it did not look very pretty.

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80

Cashew Cheese

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This is the third week of our mega blogging marathon for the theme, Protein Rich Dishes. This week I will be posting recipes of protein rich nuts and seeds. It is amazing as to how protein rich seeds and nuts are and how we can meet our daily protein requirement by including these in our meals. When I picked cashew as one of the ingredients to showcase during this week, I was absolutely confused with the number of recipes available using this versatile nut. There are plethora of gravies that go with rotis, innumerable munchies and not to mention the vast range of sweet dishes. 


 But I discarded each of those ideas because either they were too commonplace or involved excessive effort and time that I did not have. Then, one day, I ran out of cheese and needed something to spread on the bread for my daughter. I quickly searched online for vegan cheese recipes and landed on this super easy one. The more amazing part is this does not need nutritional yeast or any other special ingredient. This can be easily made with all ingredients available at home. I knew I had hit two birds with one stone – making the daughter happy as well as getting a simple and tasty recipe for the marathon. Such incidents are rare and hence I need to document this for posterity. Not to mention I used this cheese for my corn and cherry tomatoes crostini too.

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Protein – Cashewnuts

Recipe from here

Makes a small bowl 

WHAT WE NEED

Raw cashew nuts                       1/2 cup (65 gms)

Lemon juice                                1 tsp (5 ml)

Salt                                                1/4 tsp

Black peppercorns                     4

Water                                            1-2 tbsp + for soaking

WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the cashewnuts in water for an hour
  • Drain the water and transfer the cashews to a blender
  • Add the lemon juice, salt and peppercorns and blend to mix
  • Add 1 tbsp of water and blend until completely smooth
  • Add 1 tsp of water at a time to bring the mixture to your desired consistency
  • Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator
  • Enjoy as a dip with vegetable sticks, nachos or fries!

NOTES

  1. I used 2 tbsp of water and the resulting cheese was more to a dip like consistency but I read that this can be used as a crumble over pizza, etc. So blend with 1 tbsp of water first and add 1 tsp of water at a time to bring it to your desired consistency
  2. If you soak the cashews for more than an hour then you will need lesser water to blend it to a smooth consistency

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This is my dish for the mega marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80

Spinach Dosa

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This is the last day of the week and my final vegetable based protein dish. Spinach is the vegetable of choice. As a kid, I was anemic for sometime which my mother took as a personal affront. So she fed me a bunch of spinach each day pureed. She refused to stop even after my hemoglobin levels were over the threshold so much so that I was convinced that my vein, if cut, would bleed green instead of red.

I read somewhere recently that if two people in a house agree on the fan speed then they are definitely not married. I think that should be extended to dosas as well. The husband and I have completely different views on what a perfect dosa should be like. He thinks dosa should be thick and small while I think any dosa thicker than a banned plastic bag should be termed an uthapam.   

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I make spinach dosas mostly when the batter is insufficient for the number of dosas needed. I add some spinach purée which increases the volume of the batter and also gives it a nice flavour. I paired this with some lentil and coconut chutney which I came up with when I discovered that I didn’t have any fried gram to make the regular coconut chutney. I had some mixed lentil powder we use to mix with rice. So I blended it together with some coconut, ginger and green chillies. It tasted very nice with the dosa and we had a lovely weekend breakfast.

Protein – Spinach, Skinless black gram / Urad dal

Makes 15 dosas

WHAT WE NEED

Dosa batter                            4 cups

Spinach                                   1 small bunch

Green chillies                        1-2

Salt
WHAT TO DO

  • Wash and chop the spinach
  • Blend it along with the green chillies, salt and little water to a fine purée
  • Mix around 1/3 cup of purée with the batter 
  • The consistency of the batter should be slightly less than regular dosa batter but not as watery as a rava dosa batter
  • Heat a tava and pour a ladle full of batter on it
  • Spread the batter in a circular motion and pour few drops of oil around the edges of the dosa
  • Once it starts browning at the edges, use a steel spatula and turn it over
  • Let it cook for a minute and then take it off the tava
  • Repeat the process with the rest of the batter till you have as many dosas as you need
  • Serve warm with chutney or molaga podi
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80

Thai scented Asparagus Soup

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The protein for today is Asparagus. It is one of the vegetables high in protein. Most of my experience with asparagus is what I have watched on Masterchef Australia. It is one of the vegetables I used to drool over and wonder how it would taste. Asparagus is not very easily available in India. But when I saw that it was rich in proteins I wanted to make at least one dish using asparagus. Luckily, I found a small bunch which did not leave me with too many options for dishes. But I figured a soup always works, especially for me. Then I found this absolutely delightful soup with asparagus and coconut milk and I knew I had to make it. 

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I added some spring onions in addition to onions and 

Protein – Asparagus

Recipe adapted from here

Serves 2

WHAT WE NEED

Asparagus                              100 gms

Onion, large                           1

Spring onion green               1/2 cup

Oil / unsalted butter              1 tbsp

Pepper, ground                      1/2 tsp

Coconut milk                           3/4 cup

Vegetable stock                        2 – 3 cups 

Lemongrass, dried                  3 small stalks

Ginger, grated                          1 tbsp

Lemon juice                             1/4 tsp

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Cut asparagus into 1″ small pieces
  • In a pan, heat the oil / butter 
  • Chop the onions and add it to the pan
  • Once it turns translucent add spring onions, lemongrass and ginger
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes
  • Add asparagus, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat stirring frequently
  • Add coconut milk and 2 cups of vegetable stock and cook till the asparagus is tender, about 10 minutes
  • Turn off the gas and let it cool for some time
  • Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender and blend until smooth
  • If the soup is too thick, add 1/2 cup of vegetable stock and cook in the pan for 5 minutes on medium. Else warm the soup for 5 mins in the pan
  • Turn off the gas and add lemon juice and garnish with fresh coriander
  • Enjoy with some bread

NOTES

  1. You can either use fresh or dried lemongrass. If you use dried lemongrass, remove it from the soup before blending it. If using fresh lemongrass, finely chop and add it along with ginger.

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80

Corn and Tomato Crostini with Cashew Cheese

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Ever since I started baking and reading about baking bread, I have fantasised about baking with bread flour. But t is not available in India and so that idea continued to stay in my fantasies. Though many people say that it doesn’t make much of a difference, I wanted to try it out once. Whenever any friend or relative would travel from the West and ask me what I want, my answer was invariably bread flour and rye flour. The response was mostly eye rolling, sighing and shaking heads in disappointment. Due to many reasons, I couldn’t be successful in this endeavour till one day the husband had to make a 2 day trip to Amsterdam. 

He was not pleased because it took him more time to travel than he would spend there. But I was not going to give up on this chance. I pleaded, coerced and bullied (mostly bullied) him to promise me to get bread flour.  He finally did when he figured he couldn’t get away this time. When he returned I grabbed the suitcase from him and almost tore it open. His exasperation coupled with jet lag was a sight to behold. He also got me some amazing waffle strudel which was one of the most delicious things I tasted. So extra brownie points for that!
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Finally I decided to bake a Boule with it for the Bread Bakers International Breads theme. You have to see the bread flour expanding to fill the bowl. It is so airy and light and has such a beautiful crust and crumb. I am in love and waiting for the husband’s next trip to Europe. Fingers crossed.

So I made some delicious and simple cashew cheese to go along with it. Then I figured I could make a crostini with corn and the cheese and translate that to a protein rich dish. Since I have used bread flour, that is also high in protein which is the icing on the cake. You can try this with any other bread like a baguette or even regular sliced bread. But a homemade bread does give an awesome flavour to it. This is a quick recipe for a breakfast or snack and can be made with whatever veggies no toppings you have on hand. I have used cashew cheese, the recipe for which will be posted next week. But you can use goat cheese or paneer or any other spread like hummus or baba ghanoush. It is all completely left to your imagination.

Protein – Corn and cashew cheese

Makes 6 slices

WHAT WE NEED

Bread slices                       6

Sweet corn, shelled          1/2 cup

Cherry tomatoes                10-12

Cashew cheese                    2-3 tbsp

Mixed herbs                         1 tsp

Fresh coriander                   2-3 stalks

Olive oil

Salt
WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 175C
  • Brush the bread slices with olive oil and place them on a greased baking tray
  • Bake for 6-8 minutes. If you want it very crisp, bake for a minute or so longer
  • Cook the corn in a vessel with hot water for 6-8 minutes till it is well done
  • Drain the water from the corn
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves
  • Mix the corn, cherry tomatoes, finely chopped coriander, mixed herbs and salt
  • Take out the bread slices from the oven
  • Spread some cashew cheese on the bread slices
  • Top it with the corn tomato mixture
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80