Wednesday, December 12, 2018

STRESS

Stress is defined as "a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances."

This sums up a lot of our days. Stress creeps in for a multitude of reasons- be it work, personal life, constraints on which we have no control over, over commitment, under utilization of skills and on and on.

Over summer, Sumit and I spend 10 days at a "Nature Cure" place and among other things we learned, the one element that had a lot of emphasis on was "de-stress" After those ten days, i felt calmer, my skin had a glow and i was "happier" aka less stressed.
I learned and got reminded of- One thing that is the key is "Less Stress"

And the first few weeks of being back to normal life were good, really good. I was genuinely less stressed, less running in circles and above all just calmer. And then slowly but surely,it slid downwards. One step at a time in the wrong direction.

And I didn't realize it until earlier this week. Calendar at work and personal life are choc-o-block. We are going through the motions of all festive celebrations, school recitals, work commitments and its all a lot of fun. Don't get me wrong, I would not have it any other way.
But the one element that is missing is "Just Breathe". I am not taking the time to breathe, to read a book, to take a stroll aimlessly. It does not have to be big. Just 5 to 10 minutes to just be.

And in spirit of following the cliche of new years resolution. Here is my revised definition of Stress

S- Simply let it go
T- Try to develop a workaround
R- Relax, breathe and repeat
E- Evolve and then resolve
S- Stay silent, sometimes letting that moment pass helps
S- Stress: Haha! Sometimes we are stressed about being stressed



Thursday, November 29, 2018

Its going to be a Long Winter!

When you have snow in early November, when you have had a "white" thanks giving, a blizzard, heaters on 24/7 and above all the winter boots are already wearing out from the season... In November: You are going to have a long winter.

My uber driver recently was super chatty and I was complaining over the stupidity of this weather and he said something that got me at a scarcity of words (!):
He said: There is a point and then there is a counter point. that is Life. 
He said: Your point is- Its going to be a long winter. 
         My counterpoint is - Its going to be early winter and then pleasant in December. 

And hmm. I sat back and thought: Well he is correct, isn't the counterpoint what makes us go forward in life.

Isn't a counterpoint all the cliched yet statements that define me looking at life through rose tinted glasses:
"Look at the silver line";
"Light at the end of the tunnel" or even
"Be positive"

These counterpoints help one overcome the hill so to say.
And your hill may just be "Fitting in your old jeans"
Point: I cannot do it, it's too hard
Counterpoint: Well, lets try, baby steps and 5 pounds at a time

Or your hill may feel like a mountain, a cliff: remind yourself of the counterpoint.
It get's tough, it gets easier and what we need to get better at is reminding ourselves that there is a "counterpoint" in the situation.
Keeping up that courage and patience to see it through is what's hard but remind yourself: You have the strength.

But back to the point.. I am sticking with: "Its going to be a long winter"

What's your counterpoint?


Monday, November 5, 2018

Monday Bites: Quick Food Fix: Paneer Bombay Style Roll


Research proves that having dinner as a family is a big deal.

I wish I had a "magic wand":  Dinner is piping hot and ready by the time we come home, center candle is lit, and we can all sit peacefully, laugh, chuckle and enjoy the dinner while sharing about how our day went.

Snap.
Yes, a dream, a beautiful yet impractical dream.

So we do the next best thing that we can, improvise the implementation. On most days we will eat as a family and have hot piping food, but just "quicker" and "self effort" filled!

This Roll Recipe has been a hit with the kids and adults equal. It fits my "under 25 minute" rule and is rich, delicious and healthy
Here is a variation with potato I had made a while back" Potato Kathi Roll.


Name: Paneer Bombay Style roll/ Kathi Roll

For Filling
Ingredients
1/2 Onion: Chopped in biggish squares
1/2 Bell Pepper: Chopped in biggish squares
1/2 Tomato: Chopped in biggish squares
1/2 cup Paneer: Chopped in biggish squares
1 tsp ginger
Olive Oil
Spices
1 tsp Jeera
2 tsp Shahi Paneer Mix
Salt: per taste
1 tsp Chia Seeds
1/2 tsp Cinamom

For Roll
Frozen Malasian Paratha
Sliced Onion: 1/4 cup
Bhujia: per taste
Yogurt: less than one cup
Spicy chutney

Process:
For filling:
1. Heat the olive oil and add the jeera
2. Once spluttering, add all other filling ingredients
3. Let it simmer and saute till onions are cooked
4. Mix well: Note you can add 1 tsp of yogurt for a creamy texture.

Assembly:
1. Prepare the Malaysian Paratha on pan per instructions
2. With a butter knife, spread yogurt
3. Add the filling (I also added left over rice, but optional!)
4. Add Bhujia, Sliced onion and spicy chutney/ achaar per taste

Roll in Foil and Enjoy!!!

Here is our version of "Bombay Wraps/ Kathi Roll/ Paneer Roll"


A quick dinner served with style!

Kids devoured it and I shot myself in the foot, supportive husband said: Well, now this we can make at home, so no restaurant needed for the "Roll Fix"

Monday, October 1, 2018

Color me Red- Said the Dinner Plate!

Yep, I could not come up with a smart title for a recipe with Beets, so I came up with "Color me Red"

I have been "unsuccessfully" trying to introduce beets in our cooking/ daily food. I don't know what to cook with it- so more often than not, we buy it, towards the end of shelf life, we either throw it, or cut up and just grudgingly eat it. Neither option sounds appetizing or a good choice.

May be a year or so ago at a casual dinner, my friend made this divine beet salad! We gobbled it up. And I asked for the recipe and she said: "it is the simplest thing ever!"

Beet Salad
Ingredients:
1 Onion: Chopped up in larger chunks
1 Beet: Chopped up in larger chunks (you can boil it to make this softer, which I do)
Salt to taste
Squeezed lemon
Spices: Salt, pepper, Chilli, Chaat masala
Optional:
1 Avocado mashed up.

Process:
Mix it all up and tada!

I was like, what else.. she said that's it!

And man, she was right! That's it.

This was a year ago. Recently, hubby reminded me, make that salad: And I obliged!I have been making this Beet Salad 2-3 times a week. And we continue to gobble it. Well, the kids need a lot of coaxing still! They have agreed on one piece of beet. (Insert eye roll)

To add variations: Sometimes I chop up cucumbers to it, sometimes grate ginger and jalapenos, sometimes skip the avocado!

So now our fingers are more "red" and jokes of "aaah, I cut my finger see, I have blood" are more prominent in the house!

Simple salads help!
What else do you cook with beets?
The next one on my list is roasted beets-arugula-goat cheese salad! Will keep you posted!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

I CAN go in on my own...

The 7 words of my kindergartner at school drop off: I can go in on my own!

And this is how the journey of growing up, being independent begins... and no breaks in sight. Yep, a good thing I know.
Of course she followed there words by "I really don't need help" with a subtle eye roll and smile.

The school at her age group has a car line. I drop her off, she takes her stuff, goes to the locker, prepares and heads into class. Alone, Well not alone but with all her friends chatting and giggling away. But no parents.

At pick up- she packs her stuff, waves her (long) good byes and then as her name is called, she comes out, buckles up in the car and the school day is done.

The baby of the house still skips, twirls, hops and humms around the house. But now she claims, she can go in to the school on her own.

The logical part of my brain says, they are growing up and its a part and parcel of growing up.
The practical part of the brain says, you have done this before with the older child.
And yet,
The emotional aka the mush part of the brain says... Noooooo They cant grow up yet!

So yes, as much as my 5 and 10 year old claim they can do stuff on their own, I hate to break it to them: I plan to continue to helicopter-mom them!



Monday, September 17, 2018

Potato... or poh-ta-to


Recently, I had an animated conversation with a few friends about my favorite vegetable to cook with and eat as well.... potato.
I have no clue how we landed in that discussion in midst of the cacophony of the kids, but yes the animated conversation of potato continued.

Here is what I realized:
  • Amongst my friends, I was the only ONE who shared her love for this amazing and versatile vegetable, potato (I may have to look for new friends)!
  • The ones who did like potato choose not to buy it. Health reasons they say (uuuh, I never did think about potato as healthy well unhealthy as they reminded me!)
  • A friend jokingly asked me what do I cook with it. And the list of things I make with potato rambled off my mouth, even quicker than when someone asks me, how Old are your kids! (Yup, I also need to re-evaluate my priorities)

Potato.... aaah, the golden bliss vegetable, which makes everything easy, to bind the patty, to cook as a quick fix dinner, to broil for a wonderful impromptu gathering, to fry to crisp seasoned fries and above all my favorite dinner companion!

Mind you, I use a lot of colorful vegetables in my cooking, but the simple Potato is my go to.

So turns out, my friends were right! I could do more without the potato and throw in different concoctions with alternatives. They suggested a few, I mentally noted them down!

Now, in conclusion: Nope I am NOT changing my friends, however taking their recommendations/ gentle nudges forward... and will begin the journey of "No Potato" (GASP!) for 3 months.
Now don't go calling Child Services on me... I will still cook it for the kiddos, but for me, I will attempt to go potato free (for 3 months!)!!

I made the claim above and the friends rambled off food/ potato stuff I will miss out on!!!
SO yes, I MAY have to re-evaluate my friendships after-all!

Jokes apart: You tell me: Potato or Poh-ta-toh... No more, will I survive it?

Monday, September 10, 2018

New Year Resolutions


I know I know, we are way away from New Years (Well closer that we think), but I digress. I realize now that with school going kids, resolutions should be made at the start of the school year, since that is technically a "New Start" a new school year and time to refresh and reset and learn from mistakes of last school year!

So to lead the pack and begin a revolution of "School New Year Resolution", here are mine with the kindergartner and 5th grader in tow.

Resolution 1: Pack for school the night before
Be it the gym bag which we forget, the homework in the bag, the reading/ library bag, the snack bag etc. Let's pack the school bag the night before and keep it handy. This way as an unpaid errand runner, I am not running back and forth with the "forgotten items", kids are not "stressing (me)" with, oh I forgot and so on and above all mornings are less “drama”

Resolution 2: Ready the school attire the night before
Mind you, I have a kid in uniform and one kid with no uniform. So far this has not been a big deal. But, keep it going so they dress up and come ready with morning routine. With winter coming, this will be helpful having leggings/ sweaters lined up as well. So yes, continue last year’s good behavior
Yep, I am giving the pat on the back where it is deserved!

Resolution 3: Parents: Wake up 30 minute earlier than the kids
(URGH!!! I know) but, it makes sense. I can peel the almonds, get ready for my day in peace and above all may be have a few sips of the coffee while it’s still hot. Considering I have to pack hot lunch for one child, this can get smoother if I actually NOT snooze my alarm! Ideally, I should be up even earlier and squeeze in a work out- haha. I know!! Let’s start simple with just 30 minutes earlier than the little monsters angels.

Resolution 4: Yell less and less of "Hurry Up"
This one will be the TOUGHEST. We are all refreshed after a blissful summer, so mornings (of one whole week of back to school) have been timely and peaceful. I know that's not reality of school year’s gone by! But I am hoping to leverage "Alexa's" alarms and set times to hopefully get us in car bundled and on time without cursing the traffic amongst other things! Tough goal!! So open to suggestions on this one!

Resolution 5: Evening planning
Once the kids home after school, based on schedules- prioritize: Homework, instrument practice, classes, park, down time and dinner! We cant get all done on one day, so prioritize. Kids get over enthusiastic for their classes and as always we get stretched thinner making us squished for time. Aka making me crankier! Hence my older child and I decided to ease into this routine. Touch wood, she is sincere and has said, first homework then rest of things.
This one will continue to be a work in progress. I have put my foot down and agreed on NO SOCIAL commitments on weekdays before 8  pm.

(And No, Netflix is NOT a social commitment)

I get that all of the above are common sense items. But year after year, as time progresses, I tend to forget. Resulting in me getting crankier and then the domino effect on the family.

So yes, five fingers: five resolutions: The gist being: plan, early to bed and early to rise and above all prioritize!!! AND BREATHE! So the girls can do more of this... 


These are our "School New Year Resolutions". 

More importantly do you think I can follow mine? Well don’t answer that! You are supposed to say Yes of course!