Thursday, November 19, 2015

I Love Brussel Sprouts

Remember my recipe of 'Roasted Brussel sprouts with apple'. It's been a while since I made it, so last evening, I went for it.

While the sprouts were in the oven, the kids had their dinner; they brushed their teeth and basically got ready for bed.

My little lady comes to the kitchen, point to my casserole and asks: 'What is that'

G: 'Its Brussel Sprouts honey'
LL: I want to eat it
(In my mind, yeah right, you see anything green, you run away from it unless its Green M&M)
I scooped out some in a dish and showed her
G: 'There you go; do you want to try it?
LL: Yes
(In my mind, yeah right, this is yet another excuse to not go to sleep)
To my surprise: 'Little Lady' sat, finished the bowl, asked for seconds!!!

I know you won't believe it, so here is a video of her enjoying and saying: 'I Love Brussel Sprouts!'

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Quick Food Fix: Vegetable Tofu Stir Fry

It's so surprising that i have not written any new recipes here in a while now. There was a phase that I was only writing recipes and no updates and now its all about 'This and That'

So to break this barrier, here is the recipe of our 'Go to Meal' nowadays. First and foremost, the speed, its definitely a Quick Food Fix: From start to finish, it is about 15-20 minutes.
It's flavorful, high protein content and the kids love it. We love our 'Vegetable Tofu Fry' also because of its repeatability. Sumit has managed fixing this meal up quiet frequently on days I am running late, too tired or he is just in 'Pampering me mode'

Organic Tofu: 1 packet: Chopped
Chopped Vegetables: 1/4 th cup each:
Onion, Celery, Pepper, Cabbage, Carrots, Kale, Spinach, Tomato, Bean Sprouts (if available)
Other Alternates: 1/2 cup frozen corn & Peas
Optional: 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
For Sauce/ Seasoning:
Soy Sauce: 3 tsp
Chili Oil- 1 tsp (Optional- we like our food spicy)
Ready Made Asian Sauce: Example: Iron Man Sesame/ Vegetable Stir Fry etc. Bottom line, any Asian flavor you may like
Salt: Per taste
For Garnishing:
Scallion -1/4 cup
Toasted Sesame Seed- 1 tsp

1. Heat 1 tsp of olive oil
2. Add the garlic and all vegetables and Sautee them with half the soy sauce (Just remember, whatever vegetables you have at home work wonders!)
3. When tender remove from flame and cool'
4. Heat 1 tsp of olive oil
5. Add the tofu on low flame and the seasoning/ sauce and let it simmer
6. Now, if you like it crunchy, keep the flame high and make sure you turn the tofu over so it does not burn
 If you like it soft and tender, just keep turning it over and cook evenly.
7. Either way, the 'cooking of tofu' takes 5-10 minutes
8. When cooked, add all the prepared vegetables
9. Garnish, serve and enjoy!
10. Feel free to add lemon juice per your taste- Sumit like it a lot, me not so much

Voila.... Vegetable Tofu Stir Fry

Monday, November 9, 2015

The season for festivities....

 Diwali comes around and it's my favorite time of the year!

I get in a completely festive mood. What XMAS is to kids is what Diwali is to me! I reminisce about my Diwali celebrations back home in India. Highlights were buying new clothes, cleaning out closets, re-arranging books, decorating the house, helping mum with her sarees, buying new clothes etc. Like any other Indian Festival, The food was the highlight. My mom would slave for hours preparing our favorite dishes and the traditional food that goes with Diwali.

Firecrackers was definitely not my thing at all. Partly due to the environmental and noise pollution philosophies our schools imbibed in us and partly because papa said, whatever you spend on firecrackers we could use for something else. Which my enterprising brother would invest and well me, I would buy more clothes.

Fast forward to now, my kids are growing up here in US, in this melting pot of cultures. We celebrate Indian festivals, American Festivals, Hallmark festivals, basically anything and everything which makes it fun for the kids and involves sugary treats. But Diwali, I go above and beyond.

It's our annual tradition, we call it our 'Diwali Dhamaka' We have all our friends over, its one massive gathering with lots of food, lots of Indian finery, lots of pictures and pooja. Lighting up 'PhoolJhari's/ sparklers', Kids painting diya's and rangoli's and our new highlight: The kids practicing and performing a Diwali Dance with all our friends cheering along!

I love how My Chatterbox has been thinking of songs that she and her friends could dance to. I love how she is thinking of new ways to decorate the house, the clothes she would wear, the excitement of the days itself. I am seeing the wonder in my little lady's eyes as she sees this chaos around. I think she is just excited about the 'mithai'  and the 'dressing up'. I do hope that with time, they really do remember the festivities and the joys of this big gathering of friends and family.

Wishing you a very Happy Diwali and a Prosperous New Year.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

I am feeling all better!

That's the mantra of my Little Lady, my almost 3 year old bundle of utter joy.

Chronicling a little of this little cute cheeks and her stories that enthrall her, make us laugh and forget of the world around us even for that little minute.

Story 1:
Any time her older sister, Miss Chatterbox V, has an ouchie or gets a band-aid. She needs one. Surprisingly Little Lady 'Pretends' to get hurt at the exact same place. She will do all the drama and ensure we give her bad-aid and it's quickly followed by 'I am feeling all better!'

It is adorable.

Story 2:
Halloween came and went and she was old enough to truly enjoy the same this year. Considering she is in a Montessori school, the whole make believe is not their philosophy aka, no Halloween in School.

So we made sure she enjoyed. My shy in public child went to every house, said 'Trick or Treat, her Thank You's and growled like a Tigger' I was so proud of her. Of course my sweet tooth would do anything for candy! I kid you not!

Story 3:
Little Lady goes back and forth for her favoritism with me and Sumit. Sometimes she is all about papa, and then for a small phase she will be 'Mummy do this and that'.
Current flavor of the season: Papa.
At pick up time she ran to Sumit instead of me and it broke my heart in a million pieces

Story 4:
Cake & Sweet Tooth.
I cant stress enough at how much my little one likes her sweets, it can be anything, candy, chocolates even sugar.
It was Sumit's birthday recently, and we pampered him. Sang Happy Birthday at every possible place, hugged him a lot and generally made him smile.
So every time we sang the 'Birthday Song' she asked us: Where is the cake?

It was adorable to see how association works for little minds. Birthday Song= Cake and yeah may be a hug!

My almost 3 year old bundle of joy, stay as sweet, melodious and unique as you are!
You make us smile and want to hug you all the time. You and your older sister make any worries go away with the adorable Good Morning's and I miss you Mummy :-)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Holiday Season and this whole My Fitness thing really SUCK!!!

 Yeah, the title sort of says everything!

It's lovely Fall Weather here and there are pumpkins and bright orange all around you see. There is Apple Cider smells on the streets and Delicious treats at every table you see. There are pot lunches and deliciousness all over.
And its only October, the best is yet to come, we have Thanksgiving & XMAS just around the corner.

AND I complain.

Simple Reason: I want to stick to my next target: Follow MyFitness Pal through my big vacation in December.

And this means all this deliciousness around me makes me cranky. I see the warm hot cider and I calculate calories mentally. I see this candy which I can steal from the kids and mentally I check the fat content. In pot lunches, I see all this food and mentally dream of the butter that was put in these delicious smells.


This Sucks. Of course I eat, but in moderation (That's the whole point behind the My Fitness Pal).
Instead of the full chocolate, I manage surviving on 1/2 of the size. It satisfies the tongue but not the greed.
And Yes, of course I could eat it and not write it down, but hey I am doing this for myself so if I cheat, it really does not help.

I know its good for me to do this and I have made some progress. But I can complain and am complaining and will complain. I better fit into my target dress by December!!!

And yes, Happy Haloween

Friday, October 16, 2015

Foodie turning into Select Foodie

With the whole: 'My Fitness Pal' eating habits are now changing a bit(Finally!). I must commend myself for achieving my last week'sgoal: 'To meet the prescribed calorie intake at least twice a week'
I am happy to report, that I met it 5 days and was even under for one day (only 45 calories under: But hey, every bit of it counts, or I hope it counts)

I continue to have my one cheat day, its generally on the weekend!! I tell myself, it makes me sustain the ' My Fitness Pal'

My friend who nudged me on for this app still nudges me on says: 'It's about making better choices'.
Since I 'document' every morsel of food in my tummy, I better be smart about it. Case in point: At a Birthday party, I skipped on the chips and salsa and chose another vegetable sandwich. No Empty Calories is what I told myself!

The Mini Milano Dark Chocolate cookies are helping me keep me chocolate craving in check. Yay! I am trying to practice moderation. I say 'trying' since it’s really hard to stop at one Mini Milano.  The menu and the content of the dinner plate are changing ever so slightly! Hence the term 'Select Foodie'. It should be Foodie in moderation but then it sound boring!

This slight change has made a slight change in weight going in the right direction! Slight but hey, every victory counts!

I have a new person joining in my attempt to use this app and improve eating habits. Sumit, he joined the bandwagon and it's been fun to have someone to complain with and to. Someone who gets it.

Honestly, however: having him join in, is good and bad. He has a tendency of really truly following through (Yeah Yeah, I know that is so awesome).
So the Bad: 
1. On Day 3, he stopped by picked up Tofu & edamame and made his own dinner so that the protein content is high! Me on the other hand was eating Kale Paratha with vegetables due to my 'carb overload' issues.
2. He has lost the same number of pounds as me now (I took three weeks to get here and him only 1 week) URGH!!!
3. He manages to go for a run/ a tennis game here and there and me, well I am still lazy about that! URGH!!

And the Good:
1. It’s amazing to have him make Tofu for me before dinner so I can 'snack right'
2. He will happily take my bowl of 'snack' away and pass me edamame!
3. Our dinner conversations are now more like: 'I better eat more tofu and get my protein up instead of pass me another bowl of namkeen'
4. Plus I think it’s really cool to discuss 'Protein-ifying everything' with someone else other than google.

So yeah, the good outweighs the bad!

When I started this, I wanted to follow this through until my vacation in October. With the vacation almost here, I am so happy thinking I did it. I am hoping I can continue at least 'logging the food' for the duration of the trip!

Next Step: Follow through till my big vacation in December.

Remember: It is one step at a time!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Story of brown bagged lunches

Home cooked homes will always be healthier, less expensive and more convenient. I know that. I have known that all along my career. But I dislike packing food from home and bringing it to work. Trust me, laziness is not a reason. I am used to packing lunches for the family.
For myself, I like to eat out mainly because someone else has cooked and delivered it. I just go, pick it up and enjoy! The other reason is, I like to step away from my desk and get a break or process work stress or just not think of work for a bit.

But in my attempt to use 'myFitness Pal' to its full extent, packing home cooked meals is more calorie efficient for sure. And the stepping away from my desk has become a post lunch brisk walk around the block to refresh and de-stress.

So I am trying to pack my lunch from home, at least 2-3 times a week now as against none before.

My brown bagged lunch recently was: Tofu-Vegetable noodles (From the night before) and Soup. I made more than enough to ensure lunch is packed for both the adults of the house.


Wide rice noodles: 1 pack

1. Onion: 1/4th cup slices
2. Carrots: 2 cups: Julienne
3. Green Beans: 1 cup: Finely chopped
4. Cabbage: 1 cup: Finely slices
5. Kale: 1 cup: Finely chopped
6. Tomato: 1 cup quartered
7. Bean Sprouts: 2 cups
8. Tofu: Firm, sliced: 2 cups
9: Pepper: 1/4 cup: Thinly sliced

1. Salt per taste
2. Red Chili Powder: per taste
3. Soy Sauce: 2 tsp
4. Vinegar: 1 tsp
5. Soy Sesame Sauce: 3 tsp (I used Iron Chef pre made sauce)

1. Wedge of lemon
2: Shallots: 1/4 cup sliced
3. Crushed Peanuts: 1/4 cup

1. Boil the noodles al dente as per package instructions and let it cool
2. In a wok, heat 2-3 tsp of olive oil.
3. When hot, add the onions, once translucent, add all vegetables except Kale & Bean Sprouts
4. Cover the wok on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, once the vegetables are tender; add all the spices, kale and tofu
5. Cover the wok on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes, add bean sprouts and adjust seasoning.
6. Add the cooked noodles and toss. The wok makes it easier to mix the noodles with the vegetables.
7. When ready to eat, complete the garnishing and enjoy.

I added SriRacha sauce to increase the spice level and skipped on crushed peanuts.

Here is a picture of my 'Lunch' at work

The good thing about this recipe is, its very basic. I basically took all vegetables at home and chopped/ sliced them. Secondly, from start to finish it is about 30-45 minutes and is a hit with the kids and adults alike. I have the soy sesame sauce at home so its easy for me, honestly any of the pre-made sauces work, you can also make a tomato gravy for this. I just cut corners. On a lazy Sunday, we enjoyed watching our Hindi Movie: 'Chak De' with the kids and pigged out on the noodles.

The bean sprouts added at the end make it a bit crunchy which I like!

Cook & Enjoy