Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I have a bead up my nose: She did what!!!

Another one of the "Kids say the darnest things' edition with our usual suspect: Little Lady!

Scene: 5:45 am, weekday morning, our 11th Wedding Anniversary!

Mommy hears Little Lady walk slowly in her room

Mommy lovingly says: Come on in my bed and snuggle in!! πŸ’—

Little Lady whispers: Mommy I can't, I had a Mishap (Implying pee'd in her bed) πŸ˜“

Mommy consoled groggily: It's okay honey, head to the rest room, I will help you πŸ˜’

(She has been potty trained fro a long time, so mishap is not usual, no
big deal, it happens)

Little Lady whispers: Mommy, I also have a bead in my nose πŸ˜”

Mommy sprints up from bed and says'calmly': what? 😑

Little Lady whispers: Mommy, I have a bead in my nose  πŸ˜”
(She keeps a brave face and looking pitiful)

Mommy has a mini freak out and says'calmly': How? 😑

Little Lady whispers: I put it there πŸ˜”

Mommy quickly wakes up husband snoring peacefully: YOUR little angel has put a bead in her nose. WAKE UP  πŸ˜ 

Mommy looks up Little Lady's nose with a phone torch: "Hell, it is a BEAD' 😠

Daddy wakes up, calls the doctors office and finds out process of 'almost 4 year old with a bead up her nose'
Mommy picks up the soiled Little Lady and rushes to bathroom and makes her sit down 'withoug getting angry, since last thing momy wanted is to upset Little Lady'
Big Sister aka Chatterbox wakes up with the commotion and comes to the bathroom 'What's going on'

Mommy still speaking calmly: Little Lady has a bead up her nose. 😠

Big Sister bursts out laughing is asuper confused but laughs a lot! 😈
Little Lady is now parked on the bathroom sink and smiling and 'checking herself' out in mirrorπŸ˜‡

Mommy 'googles' and finds out that before ER, try the following
1. Have the child blow her nose: Okay that I can do
2. Use a 'nose bulb' and 'vacuum it out': Hmm, how hard can that be
3. Use tweezers to pull it out: Hell no, I am NOT doing that!

So mommy barks these instructions at Daddy and starts looking for the 'nose bulb' which is used for kids under 1 year!!
Mommy is getting angrier and angrier, seriously: bead up her nose! what the hell was she thinking!

In ONE minute, there is a loud burst of laughter from the bathroom and mommy rushes in 😠

Daddy while demonstrating 'how to blow the nose' has 'nosy' all over him and kids are laughing a lot!!!!
Mommy is really  ANGRY now and she stomps off to look for the 'bloody nose bulb' 😠

In ONE minute again, there is loud cheering from the bathroom and mommy rushes in

Little Lady did manage to blow the bead out of her nose!
Daddy and big sister are searching for bead on floor to double check
Little Lady is laughing and smiling since 'she did it'

Mommy is calm outside: "Phew" 😢
In all these past '8+3' years of parenting, I HAVE NEVER SEEN MY CHILD WITH A BEAD UP HER NOSE, WHAT THE HELL! 😠

Morning continued as 'normal', kids were bathed, fed and ready for school by 8! πŸ™†
Mommy was left bewildered πŸ™
Daddy was left feeling like a champion 'Since he helped the bead out her nose' πŸ™‹

Well Happy 11th Anniversary to US! πŸ˜‚

Life is full of surprises, some good, some bad! You  see the Silver Line and Smile. 

We are blessed to have these kids who can keep calm even when they messed up, a support system which can find things funny even when an almost 4 year announces at 5:45 am
 'I have a Bead Up my nose'

We did manage a Date Night for our Anniversary!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Quick Food Fix: Minestrone Soup: Instant Pot

I caved and I bought a Kitchen Gadget!!

We cook quiet a bit in the house and I 'most of the times' really enjoy the process. We make fresh food 4-5 times a week and the rest is either parties or eating out, but food does not come in a can in my  house and I want my kids to love and appreciate that.

I am not much for cooking gadgets, two reasons: 1. I don't like a cluttered kitchen counter and 2. I am old-school.

The ones that I swear by is my 'Ninja' Its a blender its Dough maker is a blessing for me. Besides that, nothing much. Simple chopper etc, but nothing really fancy. I have never found a need for it.

Over the past few months, my friends have been raving about "Instant Pot' sending me things they make, how simple it is, stress free and above all Time Saver.

Honestly this was one gadget that I thought, well great, but I think I am fine, my start to finish off cooking daily takes about 45 minutes! So don't need this. But for some reason, Sumit was very convinced for this, way more than me. His Reason: Well it frees 20 minutes for you, great!

The feature that sold me, automatic timer: Put all ingredients in the morning, have this start at 4 pm so by the time you come home from work and picking up kids, one thing is ready and done!

Then came Black Friday with an awesome deal and I caved and I bought my Instant Pot. Considering I have my 'New Toy', I am starting a new Tag 'Instant Pot Vegetarian Recipe'

I started Simple: Veg Minestrone Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes, but you have Zero Involvement!

Chopped in bigger pieces

1 Cup Carrots
1/2 Cup Orange Pepper
1/2 Cup Cauliflower
1/4 Cup Broccoli
1/2 Cup tomato
1/2 Cup peeled Edamame
1/4 Cup Onion: Sliced Thin
1 Garlic peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup Cannelloni Beans: Not Soaked

Butter: 1/2 tsp

Fried Oregano: 2 tsp
Chili Flakes: 1 tsp
Salt: Per Taste
Black Pepper: 1 tsp

1. Turn Instant pot (IP) in Saute Mode
2. Add Butter, when it melts, add the garlic and Onion
3. Saute for 2 minutes, add spices
4. Saute for 1 more minute
5. Add all vegetables and beans
6. Add Water About 4 cups
7. Switch to 'soup' option
8. Relax!!!
In 20 minutes, the steaming & Delicious soup was ready!!!

Now.. this is my 'maiden' recipe for the simplest setting. So crack your Instant Pot Open and try this!
I am going to spend sometime learning the different modes...this one was being cooked in'High Pressure' mode, so we vented out the steam before opening it.

To be honest, when this was cooking, I was a little stressed, I am used to being an involved chef, checking my food, sauteing, stirring etc. But this I could get used to.... start, dump all ingredients and read a book, When its ready, it turns off automatically!

Advantage: I finally used my beans.... they have been sitting in my pantry, but I always forget to pre-soak them!

Next, though Instant-Pot is nothing but an Electric Pressure Cooker, my vegetables stayed intact! In its shape, no mushy liquid, The minestrone turned out like a wonderful clear soup with vegetables and herbs!


If not using Instant-Pot: Follow the same recipe as above but use the pressure cooker instead, vegetables will get a little mushed since I have done that before.

And No Pictures :-( I really didn't think the first recipe I used would be this good!

Stay Tuned, more recipes to follow for sure!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Munch Bunch: Thanksgiving Edition: Zesty Cranberry Relish

It's Thanksgiving... already! This year seems to have flown past!

Thanksgiving means lots of food, lots of meeting and greeting family and friends and definitely being thankful for all we have and cherishing the time.  Of course as an Indian, this is an inherited festival for me. I learned about this festival, its significance and its importance in my adult years after moving here.

During my single days and even child free days, it was all about having an extended long weekend and a vacation. Over the years we have formed simple traditions for us as a family. And as it should, most of them involve food.

This past weekend, we had our monthly Munch Bunch: Gathering of 4 like-minded couples along with families who meet monthly with a new theme or cuisine. This way we get to attempt new recipes and test and fail in a much smaller setting and learn about cuisines of the world.

This month's theme: Thanksgiving

   Mulled Wine
Main/ Appetizer Course: 
   Cranberry Relish
   Butternut Squash Risotto
   Angel Hair Pasta
   Green Bean Casserole
   Pull Out Garlic Bread
   Brussels Sprout Salad
   Habanero Sauce
   Pumpkin Pie
   Berry Pie

And we ate and ate and then ate some more in true Thanksgiving style!!

Here is the recipe for 'Best-est Cranberry Relish'

And I say that for two reasons, the taste: It was one of the most refreshing things to taste. With the Thanksgiving menu as elaborate as it was, it was the perfect add-on!
And then second reason-The effort- its the easiest recipe to assemble and follow. It took me 7 minutes from start to finish. Definitely follows my theme of 'Quick Food Fix'

And for a taste as solid as this- it was totally worth the 'effort'

A very dear friend of mine who hosts two traditional thanksgiving dinner during this season gave me this recipe.....so I definitely have her to thank for it.

2 Whole Oranges
6 Cups Fresh Cranberry
1.5 Cup Sugar (You can adjust this based on your intake)

1. Wash the oranges and place them in the blender with the skin
2. Yes, with the skin, trust me on this
3. Blend the orange in a nice 'smoothie' consistency
4. Add the washed cranberry and sugar
5. Run the blender until cranberry is well in 'relish consistency'
6. Add about 1/2 cup of water for a smoother finish
7. Tada! Done

Yes, done, I did say 7 minutes for a reason!

Now just place them in a box for serving. Recommendation: make this the night before you are having the thanksgiving dinner... it really helps the juices and the flavors to enhance.

Here is our set of kids being thankful for amazing companions, wonderful friends and a happy home. 

This year we have our cousin visiting us for Thanksgiving, we are planning to watch the Thanksgiving Parade, enjoy the ChristKindle Market followed by gathering of some friends for.... you guessed it: More Food

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Just for some sweetness: Eggless Banana Nut Bread

A lovely lazy evening and 'mood for something sweet' made us try a new baking recipe: Banana Nut bread...

Of course, I must add: in the afternoon I saw Sumit throwing away some overripe banana and I was like- I am sure we could do something with that... so the last over ripe banana was put to good use! Sumit was laughing so hard, since I am known for tossing things even slightly wilted, however the over ripe banana made me ‘concious’

Now, baking from scratch is not my forte!! However< i must add that with my little helpers, Miss Chatterbox and Little Lady, this turned out FANTASTIC.

Apparently, humility is also not my forte!

So here is the recipe adapted from here. I made a few tweaks to keep it easier for my little kiddos to help out. 


Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:
1 medium size extremely ripe banana
1/2 cup yogurt
4 tsp Oil (I used Vegetable Oil)
1 cup brown sugar (Am sure you could use white, I find white super sweet)
1/4 cup Hot water
1/4 tsp lemon juice

Add In:
3/4 cup walnut (Broken into bigger pieces)

1/4 cup Cranberry: For adding on top for crisping
2 tsp brown sugar: For adding on top for crisping

1. Heat the oven at 375 F
2. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients really well.
3. In a bowl, mash up the banana really well. My little lady mashed it up with her fork really well... she loved the mess
4. Add all wet ingredients one after the other to the mashed banana and employ little helpers while you sip on hot coffee
5. Now, Mix until all wet ingredients to the flour
6. Add in the walnuts, save a few for topping on, mix.
7. Now in a bread pan line foil and pour in the batter
8. Shake the pan a little for even setting
9. Now add the toppings of cranberry, sprinkle sugar
10. Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until the toothpick can come out without sticking

Enjoy warm banana nut bread with vanilla ice cream

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Diwali 2016.... a Journey

Another year, another Diwali and another fun celebration!!!!

This is 'My Festival' and year after year, I love having our friends and family over and celebrate this festival of Lights and feel a little bit more at home.

This year was a bonanza, every weekend we were dressing up, be it Navratri, the festival leading upto Diwali, or gathering of friends for Diwali Parties!

As they are getting older, at our house Diwali Party, the kids do an annual Diwali Dance! Until last year, it was just the older girls and this year the tiny toddlers are in the mix

Here is our dance routine for this year

Child 1: Almost 7 year old A: Karr Gayi Chull
Child 2: Almost 9 year old Chatterbox: Cham Cham
Both Older Kids: Pinga Pori, with a surprise element from the adults as well
All Toddlers: Kala Chasshma

And it was one amazing times, the older girls practice on their own,  chances are next year, they will be choreographing on their own!

Luckily I have the little munchkins to 'choreograph' for a few more years.

This year was super special, since my friend and equal dance nut, K encouraged me to join the girls for a dance! And we did, on Pinga... might not be the most elegant, but we had a blast practicing, especially when the girls would see us and say: 'The adults made a mistake, or mummy you forgot this step!'

Yeah, getting corrected by your kids is sometimes fun!

My tradition of having these dance practices is simple:
I am hoping my kids and their friends feel that Diwali is a big deal. I am hoping they continue to love Bollywood with all its fun and frolic and enjoy dancing without a care in the world.

Here are a few Diwali images from over the years

2011... There were 3!!!

2016... And now we are 4!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Day 3: First Excursion: Pangong Tso at Leh & Laddakh

 We started really early since it was a 4 hour drive to Pangong Tso. We had to take a hard decision of leaving my brother and his family back in Leh so my brother could rest and recover from the fever!

This drive is NOT for the faint hearted. Even if you have minor motion sickness, I recommend Dramamine. Eat light and definitely fluid up!!
This drive was probably the worst drive of our entire trip in Leh! For only one reason: It is too 'curvy':
Case in point:

We crossed Chang La Pass (17590 ft. above sea level) and second highest motor able road in the world. Oxygen is really thin, so besides some quick pictures, I don’t recommend stopping here at all. My father got really light headed and we rushed down the hill so he could get more Oxygen.
But I definitely managed to get some pictures for sure!

All of us became pro's at getting 'O2 stats' checked out everywhere. This is the most important stat here. Don't take it lightly. Remember what I said: Acclimatization is a real thing!

The views on this drive are breathtaking, no doubt, but you need a really experienced driver to maneuver these cliffs. Both my daughters slept on the way up and down, since they were feeling very 'woozy'
Here are a few drive pictures.

Of course the minute you see the lake, the Tso, all your travel woes are washed away. It is simply astounding. The reflection of the clouds and the surrounding mountains on the take is like looking in a natural Mirror. The lake gets its color from really high limestone content in the water and hence the lake is also "Salty" We tasted it of course!

The locals claim, this was the original sea before Africa and Asia split (remember Formation of our planets) and hence the high salinity of water!

This lake is 35% in Indian Borders and rest in China. Incursions are common and hence a higher Army Control here. There are patrol boats in the water all the time. Again, since we were with the Indian Army, Sudhirji, the Army Jawan accompanying us and keeping us company helped us to get an exclusive boat ride in the Pangong Lake on Army Patrol Boats. Needless to say, due to security reasons, I cannot take or post any pictures of this. But this was definitely a mesmerizing blue and drive in the boat!!

Here is V pretending to ride one of the 'Dingy' boats!

Getting Maggi at this altitude of 14570 ft. is amazing. 

Knowing that our drive back was equally tiresome, we all took it really easy on lunch. Since 3 Idiots was recently shot here, most of the cafes are themed after this movie. I didn’t want to leave, but I definitely wanted to be off the steep drive in Day time. With a heavy heart we left.

Right outside the Tso, we stopped by and saw the local animals: Goats, Horses  and we had a poser, so of course we took some more pictures.

Sudhir Ji, was recanting stories of how avalanche in these areas is common in winters and hence the roads are closed for all public. But Army needs to do what Army needs to do. We saw 3 Army trucks in the cliff below struck by an avalanche. It was so disheartening, Lives lost!

On the drive back, Little Lady got really motion sick and started throwing up. Sudhirji stopped by an army medical area; we got all our O2 checked. My dad grew weak and needed O2, all taxis/ rental cars are equipped with it. Yeah, I know, it sounds scary, through the trip we realized this is really normal and as long as you are pro-active and take care and take it easy, its fine.

Don’t be macho- listen to your body and really ask for help.

I made the mistake of carrying Little Lady in my arms from the car to the medical station (20 ft. walk only). This did me in really well! I was huffing and puffing and due to lesser oxygen due to 'exertion' I was also a little low for the rest of the drive back.

When we returned back to the guest house, we all just passed out on the bed, exhausted!!! Though I was still dreaming of the lake, my body had no energy left. Trust me, as soon as I returned from Pangong Tso, I had claimed, no more, let’s just stay local!

But after a delicious and light dinner, and loads of Limca later, we sat with our Army hosts and planned the next few days: a 2.5 day trip to Tso Moriri and the India-China Border.

And then I re-looked at this picture and reminded myself No Pain, No Gain:

A good night's rest and ample encouragement from our Army hosts, we agreed and excitedly prepared for our drive!!! Trust me, tonight.. I really felt like why we are torturing our bodies…..

But this picture more than made it for me

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Travel & Stay Fit: Yes you can!

There are two things that I am passionate about, travelling and food!

If you have been following my blog, know me or even just met me, i could go on and out about these two things. In addition, over the last year, I have been following through with 'My Fitness Pal' Trust me, this is the longest I have stuck to the Getting Fit business and actually seen some positive results

Like my husband says, before we finish a trip, Garima is already thinking of the next one! Sadly work comes in way of 'my travelling adventures'. I am happy to say, the kids have travelling bug and definitely are showing signs of budding foodies.

One of the things that happens with this is: 'Getting Fit' always goes out the window when on a trip.

I want to eat all the local delicacies and my 'calorie meter' tells me I am way over my recommended amount. Of course after a trip, when I stand on the 'Scale of disaster' the truth is revealed. Yes, ignore the jeans fitting tightly, the t shirts being a little snug etc... I ignore it on a trip, until I get home and stand on my 'Scale of Disaster'

Story of my life!

But with this 'Getting Fit' business, I am trying to figure out and learn ways of Staying Fit, Enjoying local cuisines and continue Travelling and exploring.

Here is my simple and doable three point guide , I am hoping to add more 'points' as I travel more and eat more

1. Portion Control:
Eat everything you want, but do manage to have a little portion control. These 'buffets' are very appetizing, I get it, trust me.
May be take more variety and less portions. This way you can thoroughly enjoy the buffet and still not be 'way over the recommended calories'. Start with a salad, always!

2. Water &  Snacks:
Hydrate, any trip you take, be it beautiful Quebec, The friendly Vegas or the serene mountains of Leh, hydrate up. This way, you are snacking lesser during the excursions.
And if you are snack-er like me, carry healthy nuts, cereal bars, apple, banana or a simple sandwich loaded with vegetables.

3. Don't fall in the trap of 'Cheat Day':
Trust me, its hard. Read point 1, manage the portions so you can eat everything you really want. And at the same time skip the extra slice of chocolate cake since its your 'Cheat Day'. Its a slippery slope. I know since 'My Fitness Pal' graph is all over the place since I use this 'Its my Cheat Day' excuse a bit often.

Got You, didn't I: You were expecting me to blabber about use the gym, use the hotel facilities... haha!
In that case, you don't know me. On my vacations, I am lazier than my normal self.
You never know, sometimes just relaxing does wonders to your system! The stress eating goes away and you are eating when you are hungry and not when you are worried

 Enjoy these shows if you are in Vegas, take these beautiful excursions if you are in Vegas, the Sin City, book a hotel and enjoy the spa, the gym can wait, but truly relax!

Check out this amazing Website for Vegas, and I cant wait to book my next trip and explore all their amazing deals, and the only exercise I plan to do, is really thoroughly enjoy the city and follow  simple and doable three point guide: P-S-E (Portion- Snacking-Enjoy)!

But I do believe in really trying to stay fit and not gain the 'travel pounds'. If I come back at the same weight that i left before the trip, I am happy.