Mehndi Madness

You know those days that you anticipate excitedly and just hope they meet your expectations because you know you might have been too excited and then, in the end, the day goes nothing like you had expected? (Hope that makes sense.)  Well, this was one of those days that exceeded all my expectations and I owe that, largely in part to my amazing friend Neeti.  Neeti is originally from India and she volunteered to help us with our fun Mehndi-inspired day.  Not only did she help with the Mehndi, but she even made us a traditional Indian dish for lunch….and that was a HUGE undertaking considering there were 4 adults and 8 children to feed, plus three young infants.  Some people might have considered this absolute madness and not at all enjoyed the outcome of the day, but I have to say the “process” today was exceptionally fun and the “product” simply wonderful.  

Neeti came over and made herself right at home in my kitchen, something I welcomed with gratefulness.  While she cooked and our house filled with the scent of Indian spices and onions, I worked on our Mehndi-inspired cookies.  I got this idea from Sprinklebakes.com and once I saw it, I knew we absolutely had to make these delicious and artistic treats.  So, I made the dough beforehand and let it chill, although I didn’t use the spice-cookie recipe from Sprinklebakes, but a holiday sugar cookie recipe instead (based on what I had on hand).  Next, I helped each child trace their hand onto cardboard and cut it out to make a cookie design of their hand.  

Neeti, cooking in my kitchen

 

  

Our family's hands

 

While the cookies were baking and Neeti’s stew was simmering the kids played and listened to some Indian music.  At one point, I noticed a sweet bracelet on Neeti’s daughter Anyssa’s wrist and she explained to me that they often wear a bracelet called a Karra to symbolize having an “iron” or steel will and to help remind them to have will power.  Neeti has worn hers since she was very young.  Maybe that’s what I need to help resist those dessert temptations.
 
Next we had a big delicious crazy lunch with all the kids seated everywhere eating the delicious chicken dish with onions and spices-cumin, coriander, cinnamon sticks, tandoori and saffron. Neeti explained that you begin with the onions and olive oil and let the onions cook about 20 minutes until the oil surfaces. Next, you add the spices and chicken and let it simmer for about 40 minutes or so.  Along with the chicken dish, we made some basmati rice and a lassi drink.  The lassi drink, which was a recipe I had, but Neeti whipped it up quickly as she makes it often, was an easy mix of yogurt, water and sugar, with a 1:1 ratio of yogurt and water.  All you do is whisk all the ingredients together until you have a sweet, refreshing drink.  The kids really liked the lassi and, as it’s quite easy to make, I’m going to keep this in my repertoire for a light summer drink.

Neeti's special spices

 

  

I wish I remember the exact name of this delicious meal!

 

Lunch

 

Lassi

 

The lunch gang

 

   

After we filled our bellies, the kids took turns decorating their cookies using a small-tipped paintbrush and some black Milton’s food coloring gel.  

  

Here are a couple of cookies I decorated, inspired by the Sprinklebakes designs.  

  

For our grand finale, the kids washed up and Neeti painted everyone’s hands with Mehndi (henna).  (She even purchased the legit henna from India, not the kind you mix from the craft store.)  This was a HUGE highlight for the kids and even though it was tough for them to sit still and let them dry, Neeti did an AMAZING job and had such patience as the kids gathered for their turn.   

  

  

   

  

I had to have some Mehndi too!

 

  

dry hands

 

  

All in all a FANTASTIC day!   We so enjoyed participating in this
Indian tradition but maybe mostly enjoyed celebrating it with friends…lots and lots of friends.THANK YOU NEETI!!!!!  We loved every minute of the chaos.

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5 responses to “Mehndi Madness

  1. I loved reading about your adventure. It sounded absolutely WONDERFUL and all the pictures indicated the children had an amazing experience.

  2. that looks so fun! Don’t you just love Neeti, she is so great.

  3. I’m totally blushing under my brown cheeks at the amount of times you have credited me with the amazing day we had. You, my friend, are WAY too kind!!! Getting to share a bit of what makes me me was as much, if not more, of a treat for me than it was for you. The kids and I had a blast today…thank you for including us and for your sweet hospitality…it’s easy to feel at home in your kitchen. 🙂

  4. Fun! All the kiddos are so cute.

  5. I am totally blushing under my brown cheeks from the amount of times you have credited me with the amazing day we had. You, my friend, are WAYYYY too kind!! Getting to share a bit of what makes me me was just as much, if not more, of a treat for me as it was for you. The kids and I had a blast today. Thank you for including us in your adventure and for your sweet hospitality. Its easy to feel at home in your kitchen 🙂

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