Monday, July 15, 2013

Spice and Something Nice- The Goodies from Round Two!

A few weeks ago, I announced the second round of the Spice and Something Nice Swap, where you send a gift and get a gift and maybe even make a new friend. Over 90 people responded and in the end, we had swappers in 5 countries.

The swapping is certainly fun for the senders and receivers but I wanted everyone else to be part of it too, so here's a peek at all the goodies. We are traveling East to West, from Australia to India and then to the UK and Canada with a final stop in the US.


Suchi received from Anu: Chutney Powder, a novel, white chocolate mocha and a book for Suchi's baby.

Anu received from Suchi: Karnataka style rasam powder which is her mom's recipe, clutch purse, chocolate frogs and hair clips for Anu's kids.

Shruti G. received from Shruti N. Gojju masala, with recipe, red tea towel and Asian treats/sweetmeats.

Shruti N. received from Shruti G. a lovely pair of earrings, chaat masala and a card.


Raji received from Sneha: Kolhapuri masala and a box of acrylic colors.

Sneha received from Raji: Vaangi bhath spice mix and recipe, local snacks- Congress kadlikai (spicy peanuts), spicy roasted bean mixture, coconut poli, and a hand-painted pen.

Archana received from Charul: Rajasthani style 'khada masala' used for making bhajiyas, with the recipe for it, cute forks and spoons as food props and a little plate for Archana's son.

Charul received from Archana: Rasam powder, taco spice, chopsticks, napkin.

Anusha received from Pragati: Thai red curry paste, vadiams, granola bars, and breadsticks (all homemade), a cute apron, and a dress for Anusha's little one, and a bottle of body mist.

Pragati received from Anusha: Homemade sambar powder and gun powder along with a book, Dakshin - Vegetarian Cuisine from South India by Chandra Padmanabham. 

Aarti sent this to Harini: Homemade spice mix for Achaari arbi along with a recipe, a block printed silk scarf and a book of timeless short stories. 

Aarti received from Harini:  Homemade sambar powderkarivepallai (curry leaves) powder to mix with rice or use as chutney, recipes for using both the spices, homemade cookies

Ira received from Premika: Homemade chutney podia cute lil Japanese doll, heart shaped cookie cutters, stickers, a candle and 2 bars of dairy milk chocolate.

Premika received from Ira: Yummy homemade cereal 'Good morning Granola' and a beautiful vanilla bean.

Sreedevi received from Jayashree: Sambhar powder and falooda mix.

Jayashree received from Ritu:  Chaat masala & a green and white striped cotton towel.

United Kingdom

Abhi received from Archana: Pappula Podi and garlicky and coconutty Senaga Podi, and chocolate-flavoured bath stuff from Body Shop.

Archana received from Abhi: Achari baingan spice mix and an origami kit.


Surekha received from Anu: Podina masala and spray-on body lotions.

Anu received from Nikhila: Herbes de ProvenceFriendship Garden Starter kit  and a perfumed verbana sachet.

Nikhila received from Surekha: Homemade idly chutney powder and thalipeeth bhajani flour along with a cute little Ganesha.

United States

Neha received from Sharmila: Dhansak masala, herbes de Provence, spicy apple chutney and beautiful napkin ring holders.

Sharmila received from Neha: Scotch bonnet hot pepper sauce, sofrito, Sazón seasoning, guava paste and Lindt dark chocolate w/orange.

Mandira received from Nisha: Shobhatai's masala which is shipped to her regularly by her parents and cosmetic products from her newly launched business - Kimaya Skin Care. 

Nisha received from Mandira: Panch-phoron, a bottle of mixed pickle from India, a green jute bag with applique and a Dr. Seuss book for the children.

Chaitanya received from Angela: A package of Zatar, and some recipes to use the spice, the most recent issue of Sunset magazine, and Ghirardelli milk chocolate with sea salt.

Angela received from Chaitanya: Two spice mixes- Vangi bath powder and Poriyal podi and habanero jelly.

Shilpa received from Lakshmi: Saffron and a book.

Minoti received from Priya: Homemade sambar powder, a Japanese spice mixture, handy grater to make quick salads and a beautiful needle case made by Priya herself. 
Priya received from Minoti: Knitting supplies- needles and stitch markers, 2 beautiful hand painted bookmarks, and 2 pairs of her hand made ear rings (in a cute little drawstring bag), Malwani masala and Maharashtrian Goda masala.

Pavani received from Sonali: Sambar masala, handmade organizer, Dr. Seuss book & a rattle

Sonali received from Pavani: Honey and oatmeal soap, rainbow peppercorns and all-purpose curry powder.

Anjali received from Jill: A thought-provoking book, a packet of Muruku and 2 spices from Pampered Chef.

Jill received from Anjali: Chat masala and garlic chutney and two bundles of Imagine yarn and knitting needles for a new scarf project.

Fatima received from Monica: pretty necklace, boondi ladoo, homemade curry leaf powder and red chili masala.  

Monica received from Fatima: A small handbag, pani puri masala, mango pickle and tomato pickle, spicy masala powder and mangi bite candy

Sunitha received from Chaitali: Thai red curry sauce along with a recipe for a quick and yummy thai fried rice, fruit cakeinfinity scarf, matching necklace and earrings

Chaitali received from Sunitha: Chocolates and shortbread cookies and organic oregano and allspice.

Isha received from Sandhiya: Homemade rasam powder and idli powder with recipes, pendant and earrings set and dark chocolate.

Sandhiya received from Isha: Sumac from Turkey, a dhokla maker and Turkish evil eye. 

Gayatri received from Snehal: Middle Eastern Za'atar Mix with recipe, homemade herb mix (to dip bread in), a scarf and a portable water bottle

Snehal received from Gayatri: A bookWhere'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, body lotion and 'Paach Masala' - a smoky and hot five spice mix made in her family. 

Danni received from Bethany: Shan spice mix for Tandoori Chicken BBQ, Aveda hand relief cream, packets of Emergen-C Pink Lemonade.

Bethany received from Danni: Wild rice and mushroom soup mix, a jar candle, bookmark, a joint support supplement, a bread dip seasoning and dipping bowl, a hand made pillowcase and several recipes.

Vandana received from Gayatri: Bottle masala and Gardeners hand therapy cream.

Gayatri received from Vandana: Homemade garam masala, dhansak masala and a recipe book from Tarla Dalal, Eggless Desserts.

Snehal received from Mamta: Fish masala, sambar masala with recipe and colorful measuring spoons.

Mamta received from Snehal: Saffron, pencil colors for sketching, and a notepad.

Kelly received from Shilpa: Pav bhaji masala, mango pickle and earrings.

Shilpa received from Kelly: Kalonji seeds with a recipe, beer nuts and a mug.

Divya received from Chhaya: Home made cookies, kitchen towel, measuring spoons, bisibele bath mix, Kitchen King masala, baby spoon set and 2 potholders.

Chhaya received from Divya: Pappula podi, karvepak podi (curry leaf powder chutney), sago crisps, and fragrant talc and a letter pouch.

Ruchita received from Anupama: South Indian dry chutneys (Kandi Podi, Idli Podi and Sesame Podi), tea, lavender-oatmeal soap, dark chocolate bar with sea salt and almonds.

Anupama received from Ruchita: Maharashtrian and Goan masalas including Goan masala, Goda masala, CKP masala, dry chutney powder and red chilly powder. And a bracelet, key chain, purse and pouch.

Rukmini received from Prashanti: I got some chocolates, farsan & two spices.

Jayeeta received from Sahiti: Baking book and spice mix.

Priti received from Gajalakshmi: 'All in One' chili powder, home made Idli Milagai Podi, a Yankee 'Pineapple Cilantro' fragrance and a novel 'The School of Essential Ingredients' by Erica Bauermeister.

Gajalakshmi received from Priti: Badshah chicken masala, seed packets of zinnia, petunia & dahlia, brownie decorating kit and her homemade box of spicy chivda and her 'Indianised' baklava.

Nila received from Kim: A Japanese- Hawaiian themed package with pineapple biscuit sticks, Kona coffee biscuit sticks, chocolatehomemade salt seasoningMaui onion Ponzu Hawaiian dressing
and Passion fruit butter.

Kim received from Nila: A bread cookbookdosa mixtamarind rice powdersweet ginger spice mixmoong dal snacksalmon rub from Seattle, Indian candies.

Shriya received from Smita: Strawberry huller, a peeler and a cute onesie set, amchur, kokum and Konkani fish curry masala.

Smita received from Shriya: Sumac and Zaatar, embroidered handbag, butter spreader, tamarind candy and chocolate.

Finally, I received barbecue sauce and a set of abstract drawings from Anne.

And Anne received chana masala spice, peanut sesame curry masala, chivda, a scarf and mug rug from me.

So, what are you drooling over? Is there anything here that you wish you'd received? Don't say "everything" :) I'm getting so many ideas for adorable and tasty gifts from looking at these goodies.

Now, we are all essentially strangers on the Internet and I suppose I should be pretty shocked and excited that most of these swaps work out as well as they do. And I am amazed and happy, believe me. But I do have to say that with over a dozen people in this round, there have been prolonged delays, and failures to communicate, and worst of all, a couple of who received their swaps but have failed to send out a swap :( All of which I am trying to resolve behind the scenes, ugh. This is the entirely-not-fun part of swap hosting.

But these swaps are too much fun for those who DO follow the swap rules and timelines and who DO put together packages with love and care, so we'll have more in the future. Maybe a holiday goodies swap in October? I'm thinking of the trays of Diwali faraal we exchanged....

Perhaps my biggest take-away from these swaps is that to send a small gift, and get a little treat in the mail- these are some of life's biggest joys. We truly don't have to wait for an official swap to put a little happiness in the mailbox and make someone's day.

See you next week with regular programming. Oh, and I'll also introduce you to our new puppy in the next post!


  1. We are enjoying the peanut sesame curry masala! And all the other gifts--I use the mug rug every day. Thank you so much for all the work you put into this. --Anne

    1. Anne- It was really fun exchanging gifts with you! I am excited to try the BBQ sauce and to frame your drawings.

  2. What an AMAZING roundup!!! WOW!!! Hats off to you for hosting this! I can't even begin to imagine your efforts in coordinating all this and getting it all together. I loved taking part in this swap and would surely do it again. And I love the idea of doing a Diwali snack/sweet swap!!! What a fantastic idea!!! :-) I am IN!

    Can't wait to see your new puppy!!! :-) So happy for you all.

    - Priti

    1. Thanks for participating and I am so glad it was a positive experience for you!

  3. You have a new puppy!! oh wow! I can hardly wait for your next post.... lavkar, patkan, please!

    1. LOL just a few more days and then pup will make his debut. I'm exhausted running after kid and pup :)

  4. What an incredible round up, Nupur! You seriously are a superwoman to have coordinated this across different continents. I look forward to the next one!

    1. E-mail and spreadsheets- those did the trick to keep dozens of participants organized :)

  5. The excitement of opening a parcel from someone I have yet to meet is unparalleled. Thank you so much for coming up with the idea and thanks for resolving the behind-the-screen wranglings. My food these days gets a liberal sprinkling of the (fast-depleting) podis.

    Congratulations on the new addition. She/he's a lucky pup!

    1. I'm so glad you participated!! And that it worked out with just a few hiccups. I know just what you mean about the podis- when I get my hands on some, I find myself adding them to just about everything.

  6. Trust you, Nupur, to come up with something fabulous like this. If you do a round three, I will be ready! Loved this amazing assortment of treasures :)

    Incidentally, I carried your Goa shell toothpicks (from long ago) all the way to Michigan! ;)

    1. Linda- We will have a round three in October and I really hope you participate!! Can't believe you still have those shell tothpicks :D

  7. what a beautiful array... i wonder how i missed signing up for this. My loss :(

    1. We missed having you in the swap too!

  8. Nupur, this was wonderful and I really enjoy seeing all the other gifts. I found the shared childern's books so sweet. My "baby" is 20 now but I remember the joy a new book always brought to our household especially at bedtime.

    I was one of the late ones this year and I am very sorry. I'll be better next time.


    1. Hi Angela- stuff happens, delays happen- the most important thing is that you communicated and said there would be a delay, which I appreciate very much! So glad you played in this round too!

  9. I've enjoyed reading about these swaps always! I hope to join the one in october. Surprise goodies in boxes - I'd be excited like a kid!

  10. Hi Nupur, leaving a comment after a long time. Life has been busy with a newborn, but have been reading your blog regularly. What an amazing roundup! And kudos to you for hosting and coordinating the swap so well. Wow 90 participants across 5 countries… really? Wouldn't it be nice if everyone followed the rules and timelines? Diwali swap is a wonderful idea, hope I can join you ladies :) And a new puppy… can't wait to see the new member of OHS fam!

  11. such a well organized and fun swap, amazing
    keep up this perfect hosting :-)

  12. amazing round-up Nupur!! and wow, so inspired by all the thoughtful gifts and spices people shared. loved participating in the swap and loved reading about everyone else as well. i am certainly in for a diwali faraal swap - and looking forward to meeting your new pup. take care!

  13. Such a wonderful round up Nupur. It was so great participating in this. I made a new friend. Looking forward to meeting your new pup.

  14. I'm not too interested in getting a spice (mainly because I have given up cooking), but the whole effort and organization you have done - makes me completely jealous. You are an inspiration to me in every sense.

  15. *don't publish* jus sent you an email too! and show off your new pup already! :)

  16. LOvelt round up Nupur. More ideas for the next swap :-)

  17. And on the other hand - (as compared to those who didn't follow the rules) - are the ones who took the trouble to send an extra gift. I'm talking round-robbin - my swap partner sent both of us a gift. Isn't that sweet?

  18. Wow!, what a wonderful Idea, oh! I so missed this really, what a wonderful round-up I would love to join this in October will be waiting for this announcement, Your Duncan is simply Gorgeous.., You come with super Ideas, how is your little girl doing ? she must be quite grown up now..


Thank you for taking the time to say hello!