Monday, September 18, 2017

Story of the The Spoon & The Child

In a house filled with kids laughter, some of my yelling and a little of the delicious smells of MIL cooking, funny stories ensues!!!

It was one long Sunday,we all had back to back events and obligations and errands and it had been a long (and cranky) day and last stop was Costco for essential shopping.

To lighten up the mood and just have the kids be 'less' cranky a costco size ice cream was bought to share.

Sumit asked almost 5 year old Little Lady: " Can you please give me a spoon?"

Little Lady takes the spoon, fill it with ice cream proceeds to put the ice cream filled spoon in her mouth and then licks up the spoon and hands it over you Sumit

Sumit asks: "What is this?"

Little Lady responds: "A spoon "

Laughter ensues!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Summer of 2017

 As a mom, Summer equals the months when the kids are off school. 
And now my summer draws to an end. 

Over the next two weeks, The Little Lady starts hew new school closely followed by Miss Chatterbox in her new school as well. Touch wood, both are supremely excited for their new beginnings. 
I am sure Little Lady will have water works for the first day, I am mentally prepared for it. 
I am sure I will have some water works for both their first day's, I am mentally prepared for it.

To continue the tradition, her is my Summer of 2017 recap:
The kids did absolutely nothing and had a really good time (I think). They lazed and got pampered by grandparents, they went to the park countless times, they had ample late nights, BBQ's, Ice Creams, play dates, lots of crafts, some beach time, some lake time, some swim time, loads of biking and a whole load of nothingness to have them recuperate and energized and truly spend summer like kids are supposed to.


The whole nothingness, no plans, no agenda, it sort of worked out. With my In-laws around, I got massively pampered. I barely cooked implying coming home to food being ready is amazing. They spend countless hours with the girls, taught them, and just basically bonded with them, which I really think is the best part. And cheeky husband and I got in ample date nights! So this summer was a nice working holiday for me as well.
















Though I love having kids home, I do need them back in school. As I often say, my 'regular scheduled programming to start'

I know- I suck! In summer, the mornings when I leave for work, I get long sullen kids’ faces telling me- You are going to office again! And then the mommy guilt creeps up even more.  And then I come home in evenings to a house hit by hurricane, toys strewn around, half-finished books, writing material on the floor and urgh! So then instead of hugging them, I get them on task and have them help clean up becoming the non-fun mom. 



So honestly, Minus the mess, I think it was a perfect summer!!

What made your summer super special??

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

They did this....

I come home from work... and see this!!!!


The Little Lady wanted her face painted, the Chatterbox wanted to be creative and hence they were a perfect match!
I climb our stairs and am greeted with this beautifully painted face and lots of chuckles and lots of giggles.

These two together are a riot, a menace and the most adorable pair of sisters who can spend hours playing, fighting, troubling and uniting against me!

Touch wood, Siblings truly are friends for life

Friday, July 28, 2017

Berry Pie- Peach Pie and my cutie pie's



Such a big difference 2 years is making, I swear!
This was us 2 summers ago baking a crumble and fast forward to now.... the girls 9 and 4 are making the pie/ crumble now pretty much on their own and the cherry on top.... they are also cleaning up after!

So here is the Pie/crumble recipe, kids edition!  The girls made two crumble's this past weekend, so except the fruits being different, both of them followed the recipe step by step identical to each other!

Little Lady: 4 year old used 3 cups of berries (Mixed- Blueberries, raspberry - Strawberry)
Miss Chatterbox: 9 years old used 3 larger peaches. She sliced most of them herself
(Yes I was a hawk watching her)

For the rest of the recipe-I will use the term 'fruit' instead of berries or peaches just to keep it simple

Ingredients:

Fruit Base: 
Fruit of choice : See portions above
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ginger grated
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (Again, I used the home made one my friend gifted me at Xmas!)

For the crumble topping
4 spoons Bisquick
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/2 tsp baking powder

For baking or cooking with kids the best thing I have learned over the years is keep all ingredients, measuring spoons out on the counter and then walk the kids through the process step by step.

Let them lead, ask questions, get messy and above all let them include the variation they want! Of course with that said, i am starting a new tag 'Cooking with Kids'

Make them wash their hands, before, during and after!

Process: 
1. In a ready to bake Pyrex dish mix all the ingredients of the fruit base.
2. Let it stand for 20 minutes for the fruit juices to release well
3. In a deeper vessel, mix all the ingredients for the crumble topping (dough like consistency)
4. Layer the crumble topping on top of the fruit base.

Note: The little one definitely needed help with this steps since her natural instinct was to press the 'dough'. I learned that telling them 'Layer the topping like a blanket on the fruits' worked like a charm!

5. Bake the crumble at 375 F for 20-25 minutes, you could brush the topping with additional butter to make it 'brown' better.

Note: I am paranoid about the oven, so this step I led completely.

While the pie/crumble is getting baked... have the kids clean up.

Both girls washed their hands off after they licked their fingers with the delicious dough topping.

Again the kitchen clean up was a simple one... the older one helped in putting all the ingredients from where they came and the little one helped with wiping the counters and the floor.
And yes, of course I had to wipe up a little more after them, but I really did enjoy them helping me out and taking the initiative of 'Leaving the kitchen as they found it'

The highlight was the girls were sharing with everyone at the dinner party the recipe, the baking process and above all ' I made it, you will love it!'


So go on... let the kids lead a little and you will learn a lot!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Yep....I have slipped!

Nope, I have not forgotten about it...but yes, its ONLY at the back of my mind! I have slipped on the 'Getting Fit Business'.

I have become lazy and lazier these past weeks. May be its the Chicago Summer, the continuous BBQ's, the lazy mornings and even lazier evenings, my stupid knee, I really don't know, but I have become lazy about the 'getting fit'

My model is suppose to be simple.... Log your food, go to the gym/ keep a routine and then enjoy the process with buddies who help and encourage. Its not about loosing weight, its about being fit, energetic and happy!

But, I have not been logging on MyFitness Pal at all now. I broke my 74 day streak a few weeks ago,  and now haven't picked up the baton again!
For the gym, in summary, I injured my knee (I think at a stupid but super fun bowling game) and since then doctors orders are no squats, no pivot motions, no pounding of the knee... aka, no gym routine that I had down and was consistent!

Due to my knee injury, I am in the self pity mode and hence not even moving a muscle for any basic workout routine. I think I am being kinder to my knee. I sound like my grand mum, "kinder to my knee", but trust me being in constant dull pain in knee is no fun. And the pain goes from dull to shooting stabs in a matter of seconds. Read: Self Pity :-)

And it shows.... I am dragging my feet by end of day, I cant keep up with the kids soccer games and above all, I am feeling crankier!

Every Monday, I think.... next week I will start.

Please tell me I am not alone...... please leave some motivational messages :-/

Aaah! So, here I am picking up again. But this time..... not the baby steps that I love, I am actually leaping and jumping, since hey, now I know what to do.

So
Step 1: Join the gym THIS WEEK and actually go
Note to self.... if you pay up the monthly fees, its the best motivation
Step 2: Re-start logging on the weight THIS WEEK and actually not exceed the calories
Note to self....it takes only 10 minutes a day to enter in the food consumed
Step 3: Kick my buddies really well, I cant believe they are not helping me in stopping the slide!
Note to them.... be prepared for the kicking!

See it's their fault! ;-)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Quick Food Fix: Grilled Zuchini Boats

As we improvise our vegetarian BBQ recipes, we have discovered our new favorites like 'Grilled Edmame; Crusted Tofu, Tangy potato' and as we explore new recipes like today's Zuchini Boats..... the one main BBQ item that has been dropping off our menu is the Vegetarian Burger.

Imagine a BBQ with no burger and you are still full!
To be honest, a Trader Joe's masala burger is a staple in my house, I love it! This is the one frozen ready made food that i actually keep stocked for those days when I just want to do nothing with cooking and still eat at home.

When we started with grilling, we will make a few variations and then stick to the tried and tested Vegetable Burger as a main... however in the past 6 weeks of grilling (We grill at least twice a week), I have made the vegetable burgers only once!

So our BBQ sessions are interesting for sure even sans the burger! Here is the new 'concoction' Grilled Zuchini Boats!

Serves 6-8 adults as a side

Ingredients:
Zuchini (But of course): 3-4 medium length

Stuffing:
Corn (husked from the cob): 1 or frozen corn 1 cup
Note... its summer, enjoy the fresh husked corn, the frozen ones can be used in winter!
Onion: Medium: Finely chopped
Pepper: 1 medium: Finely chopped
Seranno Pepper: Per taste, finely chopped
Pesto Sauce : 3 tsp
Spices:
Per taste: Salt, Pepper, Chilli Flakes

Toppings
Goat Cheese: crumbled 1/2 cup
Shredded Cheddar Cheese: 1/4 cup
Basil: Finely chopped: 1/4 cup



Process:
1. Wash the zuchini and Slice it in the middle length wise
2. Core the centre and save the pulp

3. Stuffing: Mix all the ingredients along with the zuchini pulp and the spices
4. When the grill is hot, on the grill mats place the stuffing for 3-5 minutes and toss once or twice.
5. While the stuffing is getting cooked, place the sliced and cored zuchini on the mat as well.
5. When the stuffing is ready, : Stuff the stuffing (no pun intended) on the zuccini boats and and top with the cheese mix

6. Grill the stuffed boat for another 2-3 minutes and tada!!! Ready, the finely chopped basil helps to elevate the look

Enjoy as a warm accompaniment on your grilling evening.
And yes vegetarian grilling/ BBQ parties are a thing! We are living proof.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Quick Food Fix: Paneer Tikka Masala

Another grill edition and definitely a super hit with Indians and even my local American friends.
I used home made Paneer for this round, but you can use store brought one like I have done for the past 14ish years!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1. Bell Pepper 1 Medium: Quartered in chunky pieces
2. Yellow Onion 1 Medium: Quartered in chunky pieces
3. Paneer: Quartered (You can adjust the amount of paneer based on your taste, I say, more then merrier)
4. Tomato 1 Medium: Quartered in chunky pieces
5. Ginger: 1 tsp grated
6. Garlic: 2 cloves grated
7. Yogurt: 3/4 cup

Herbs & Spices
1. Paneer Tikka masala (Easily available in Indian Store/ Whole Foods): 2 tsp
2. Seeka hua Jeera: 1/2 tsp
3. Red Chillo Powder: 1/2 tsp
4. Sookha Pudina: 1/2 tsp
5. Rock Salt: 1/2 tsp
6. Salt & Pepper: Per taste

Garnish:
1. Chopped Cilantro: 1/2 cup
2. Squeezed Lemon Juice: Per Taste
3. Chaat Masala: Per Taste

Process:
1. In a mixing bowl, mix the yogurt with all the spices and ginger, garlic
2. Once all is mixed, add Onion, Bell pepper and Paneer (Not the tomato)
3. Mix well and ensure everything is coated well
4. Now add the tomato and toss lightly
5. Marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge

Note: If you leave the marination overnight, skip adding the tomato's since tomato releases the water, it will make the marinate 'thinner'

To Cook:
On Grill: (Perfect for summer) Save some of the marination, and layer the tikka on the grill mats. Cook for 4-8 minutes and ensure to flip the vegetables and paneer to cook evenly

Alternatively: You could add them to presoaked skewers, I generally forego this step since it adds more prep time and for gobbling them down, have to take them off the skewers anyways.

In Oven: (Perfect in winters)On a slightly oiled foil/ oven dish add the paneer tikka and cook at 375 F for about 20 minutes

On Stove Top: (Least Recommended)Add 1 tsp of olive oil in the pan and then add vegetables and Paneer, Let it cook for 5-10 minutes on medium flame. Please note in this method, the vegetables tend to get softer and the paneer will not have the 'crunchy exterior'

Garnish with the toppings and any leftover marinated yogurt and enjoy!