Friday, July 30, 2010

Apple Cobbler.... Yummy in my Tummy!

So I have wanted to write about food... quick fixes and the likes for a while. But somehow the right outlet is not coming, so for now, I will just write here. Yes, it is very unlike my regular blog content, but this is one recipe a sweet tooth like me had to share… Especially since it look less than 10 minutes to put together!
This was completely inspired by Chris’s post of the Peach Cobbler...
The major switch is using fresh fruit instead of packed (read: super sweet, super glorified) fruit. And since SD had recently gone for our groceries (Aaah!! thank you XOXO), we had more apples than peaches. Hence, here is my revised recipe for:
Apple Cobbler! (In MWave less than 10 min. preparation + Baking Time)

Fresh Apples (Since this was a trial, I only used two)
4 Tspoon sugar (Proportion is for 1 apple = 2 Tsp sugar)
Box of yellow cake mix (Readily available in Jewel Osco or any grocery store. Costs 1-2$)
1-2 sp Cardamom powder (Alternatively can use Cinnamon as well.)
Baking Dish/ Microwaveable Dish (I love Pyrex since you can use it in Microwave, you can bake in it and store in it!)
1. Core and Peel the apple(s)
2. Cut the apple in thin slices and place it in the Pyrex bowl
3. Add Sugar and mix
4. Place the bowl in microwave (High) for two minutes.
5. Now add the Cardamom powder, stir it a bit and once again microwave it for two minutes.
6. Just keep checking that the apple is soft enough. It tends to get translucent. Please don’t touch the apple (It's super hot.. not that I know anything about that!). Start microwave for another minute if needed!
7. Now, add 5-6 tspoons of the cake mix on top of the melted apple-sugar concoction. Make sure to use a fork to tab it in the liquid.
8. Now, if you like the buttery taste, feel free to place small cubes of butter on top of the cake mix for better baking. (I placed 2-3 only)
9. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees on Bake for about 15 minutes.

Yumm Yumm Yumm
Apple Cobbler is ready.... feel free to eat it with Vanilla Ice Cream like I did!
Or feel free to force feed the hubby to "Try it out"... Once again like I did!
Or feel free to not feel bad when kiddo only wants the Ice Cream... since the cobbler was still super hot! Just like mine did!
Fear not. I will ensure she eats the cold leftover one tonight!

Sorry... no pictures, I really didn’t know I was going to blog about it.
Now, I definitely plan to make such quick fix cobblers of different fruits (Peaches, Berry's, Nectarines).... all should work well! Any tasters?
Try it out… let me know how it turned out!

Note: If you don’t want to use the cake mix, for the crusty top do the following:
1. 6 tspoons All purpose flower + 3-4 cubes of butter, Sugar if you like the crust to be sweet.
2. Hand mix the ingredients to a powdery feel. Just so you can place it over the fruit concoction. And bake
I was lazy last night, so the cake mix was perfect. I think I will use cake mix going forward; it’s just quicker (and less dishes, and less preparation time and that one big box will last me a few more trial attempts)!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion...

See this post is all about boasting and patting myself on my back.. and saying.. Oh I am so fab.. So if you dont want to hear it... stop reading.. I mean it..

Fine you stuck around.. don't tell me I didnt warn you!
Remember in my 100th post (Wohooo) I had mentioned there were a few other things brewing up for me... here is one of them.. I will be writing for "Smartly Chicago". I am hoping to write bi-monthly for them... How nice is that? The cool thing, on Smartly Chicago I can write about anything from parenting, cultural mis-matches, vacations, general stuff which are important to me or made me take a step behind and re-think!
Nice right? ;-)
I will let you know as and when I publish there... dont worry.. I know you are waiting to read a bit more of my chatter .
You can check out my writing bio here

Guess what the punch line for Smartly Chicago is: "People who get it" Ahem! ;)

Foot Note: Please comment on my Perfect Sunday evening post... the Giveaway is still on. I really wish you win.. so we can meet up over pop-corn and may be some chai! :-D

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A little Book Keeping

All right.. with a lot of fan fare I had announced my Energizer Giveaway.. >> Finally time to announce the winners.. and the winner for the amazing set of batteries is G.... whose cute comment was
"Gonna need lotsa batteries! Gimme gimme gimme.. " Hehe...
G.. please shoot me an email at garimablogs at gmail dot com with your postal address. I promise to not show up at your doorstep (unannounced)... It is mainly for the people at Energizer to mail the batteries out to you.

Secondly, For people who did comment on the giveaway or missed the deadline and still commented.... thanks a lot.. Was very sweet. But ...... I am having another giveaway.. Not for batteries.. but yummy.. Angie's Kettle Corn... go ahead, check it out on my Mommy In Making blog and leave a comment there. And FYI- There will be five winners, so your probability of winning is definitely higher..

Thirdly, you remember, I won the Blogadda's being invisible contest right? So Pringoo was suppose to mail me the choice of gift.. hmm... and I picked my design and ordered. And I am informed, that oh-we-dont-ship-to-US! And I am like... oh-it-was-not-mentioned-anywhere. now we are figuring out logistics together... which is definitely me telling them.. I want that T-shirt.. bad, I won ;-)! Hehe.
Will keep you guys posted.. and definitely, if and when I do get it, I will put up a picture... promise baba.. pinky promise.

Fourthly........naah nothing.. just wanted to see... how fourthly sounds.

Have a great week everyone.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Late is better than Never! Right?

All this is way overdue. Shilpa @ Shonawrites had passed on this award to me "Cherry on TOp"

Thank you so much girl.. it was super cute of you. Here I am now... Thanks Shilpa for this award... and super sorry for the delay in putting this up!
In order to accept this, I have to write three things about myself....hmm like I dont do that all the time.. eheh.

All right.. here it is.
1. Hello, I am Garima. :-)
2. Hello, I am Garima. :-)
3. Hello, I am Garima. :-)

Come on... it didn't say that to be unique, catchy or nice... So there... GNSD = Garima. Happy!

Now, the fun part... tag five more people.
Forever mother
Bikramjit Singh Mann

And A picture I love...Taken in the soft sands of Puerto Rico..... GN, SD and V.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Moments of Madness....

Another contest... this time for the mug from Pringoo...
This one is for the "Moments of Madness" for Blogadda.

1. The one that instantly to my mind was... my Bucket list.. line 43: Confused... It was our sky dive. A simple afternoon, just seeing an amazing deal for an option to sky willingly jump off a plane. I ask my FIL and he says: Why Not.. I will do it also. My husband is shocked and says.. What the hell.. Let me join my father and wife.. in jumping off a plane at 12500 feet with 10F temperature. Perfect. Apparently there were 12 other crazy people like us. We signed up together. Drove 60 miles to get there, comfort in numbers they say. And then the time came, the jump... 12500 feet to 6000 feet in 60 seconds. The best free fall.. and the mad moments... when you grin with happiness.. and want to do this One more time.

2. Being in the car with my husband driving at 100 mph right behind a cop's car.. on the infamous I-5 drive from Los Angeles to Chicago. It was our first new years together as Husband and Wife... and nothing better than to go Lombard street and experience the sheer madness. It was a perfect afternoon... the freeway was clear, the breeze was in our faces.. and we were listening to our melodious numbers. California is great that way...before we knew it.. we were at 100 mph right behind a unmasked cop car... we drove behind it for 20 miles, then the cars came side by side. I freaked out. The cop smiled, winked and gave us thumbs up. One crazy afternoon I tell you.

3. Our 15 mile per hour drive from the hospital to our home with our two day old daughter V. We were just being super carful. Cars were passing us; people were giving us the "look". But we were scared... as first time parents. It was truly a ride ahead. We realized then... we were madly in love with the new addition to our family.

4. In the college canteen, as usual, a bunch of us were bumming around with our coffee cups. Bunking all possible classes (Shh..). One of my friends explaining to me how electricity flows through the headphone from my walkman to the ear buds. He spoke, I listened. Then he pressed the wire.. and then explained... oh you can’t hear anything since I have the wire pressed. I was confused and shocked and amazed.. since I honestly could not hear the music. So by pressing the wire, electricity stopped flowing.... What I didn’t realize was that he was conniving and he removed the battery from my walkman! What to say... I was naive.. and super mad at him and at myself. Never been than embarrassed and mad at the same time! Needless to say.. I aced my Electrical Engineering and masters program. No seriously, I did.

5. In my eyes.. my brother and my husband... are super Poker players.. I can come to the final four, the final three... but get my behind kicked by these two guys in poker. Seriously. It gets personal when its poker with them. So one night.. the three of us and some friends got together for a poker night. With slow elimination... the eight became three... once again, three family members on poker table. And.. I came in final two.. .. and then I was heads up.. and I kicked their ass.. and won against the seven players.. and the certain two.. who have shamelessly done the happy dance in front of me too many times. Needless to say.. this time.. I was not the one being mad..The one thing that I heard that night way too many times: "How the hell did you make that call!" haha!!! Doesn't matter.. since "I Won I won" Fair and Square.

Life is not one big story.... but a combincaiton of small, crazy, happy, sad ones.. which makes it a whole load of fun!

Monday, July 12, 2010

An idea....what do you think?

Ok... it’s just an idea... and not a unique one. I will give it that.. But still. An idea needs a few things.. wording it.. and of course.. gaining consensus followed by implementation.

So... I am a foodie.. a veggie foodie that is and married to a veggie foodie as well. As usual I am pressed for time.. but love the home cooked meal. I like healthier options and shy away from fried food on a regular basis unless I am entertaining. And in my quest to be the "perfect" person, I love to find quick fixes which does not take hours in kitchen... and still taste well.. divine... hehe. I do enjoy baking (though I suck at it... rather.. don’t have the patience for). Plus I enjoy cooking, and love the thumbs up from my daughter and SD's blissful face. I like the aroma of spices being cooked, having my daughter help me out in cooking (!), trial and failures....
So here is my idea.
For my blogger buddies.. how about we create and then start a contributing to a "Food Blog" We can have broad categories.. like Appetizers, Lunch, Snack, Quick Fix, Re-vamp of Left Over, Party food.... and maybe .. fine a category for Non-veggies.. though I promise to never read them. And may be a place where we can put in “Nuska’s” small tips which make life easier.. like starting the pressure cooker with lemon piece inside and then cleaning it…... did you know that helps to get the shine back! Did you know?
And yes, give me a break.. I did not say my idea was unique!
The name of the blog can be… hmm… “A Quick Fix!” come on.. that is just a little bit unique!
What do you think? Any takers.. Anybody else enthusiastic in joining.. shoot me an email and we can figure out how to design the blog, link within and of course figure out frequency of contribution, what to contribute etc….
Alternatively... we can start "Recipe a week" All of us.. just post a recipe on our own blogs which we tried making or eating that week and was honest to god “A Quick Fix!”.
Or something else... .like you already know of a blog where I can contribute my "amazing" concoctions. ;-)
Come on.. shoot me an email and or just comment here!

Updated to add: This idea came while chit chatting with one of my dearest friends. So not entirely mine as well.. Hehe.
Perfect: An Idea, Not Unique, Not entirely mine. :-D

Friday, July 9, 2010

I won.......

Holy Crap I won..............:-) No not some beauty contest(!) Fat chance there... ehehe.. I won.... the Blogadda contest for "Being Invisible". Wooof!
Knock on wood. ... first my 100th post.. then almost ready to announce my giveaway's winner and then of course... gearing up for the weekend... Could not have asked for a better Friday.. blogging wise ;-)

All right people, let me breathe... count... breathe... and then do the happy dance!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why I blog?

It is my 100th post today... And yes.. let the drum roll begin, let the marching bands go.. and oh yes... applaud applaud.. hehe..
Today I will attempt to answer the question which I have been asked a lot of times.. Why do you blog?

I started blogging; just to get over my fear of being on the open internet...There was a time, when I used to freak out if I searched for my name and my Linked In profile showed up. I didn’t like it. I liked to be a person.. and not be searchable! Plus I was always a bit reserved when it came to talking about me... let me rephrase.. I could go on and on about discussing and lecturing and debating different things.. but I was always shy/self conscious at talking about my problems/issues/ short comings to near and dear one.. I am sure a few friends are nodding their heads. I had to change that. And so I did.... I started getting over my first issue of being "open" on net, I used my pen name GNSD.. Shared the blogs with just family and some friends. Then I started enjoying the writing process. It felt exhilarating. I started slowly getting over my second issue of being "open" about me. It felt free, liberating.. My friend was right.. it's not hard to talk about yourself. I got over it and used my first name for my professional contribution.
And then slowly and surely (thankfully) I met wonderful people in the blogging world. It was an extension on my community. I realized my writing and "issues" fell into two distinct categories.. mommy related and my adventures related.. I decided to split my blogs. One as my Mommy-In-Making Blog and other as this....Not knowing a lot of young parents around me used to leave me a little worried, second guessing myself; if you will. But coming across numerous other fellow bloggers, mommy bloggers, reading, it felt good.. and once again I learned something: "You are the best parent for your child" ... I feel less judged by my own eyes.. I think I am okay telling myself.. I am learning, making mistakes, picking myself up again.. and figuring out! The mommy blog really helped me cope up with not driving myself or SD crazy.
And then.. blogging opened up other interesting ventures.. My professional contribution to "Chicago Moms Blog" I attended my first ever Blogging conference. I got interviewed by CNN for a parenting viewpoint, I got a brand new Chevy to test drive for a weekendand write about, I figured out Google Reader... I learned about branding, advertising, making professional and personal relationships with bloggers. I met wonderful people who blog, who write, who author books, who own companies, who start companies, who reach out to community, who help out.. and above all.. who are wonderful people... I learned.. blogging is a community itself. I am now excited at a few new opportunities brewing up for me.
In addition to all this.. blogging is truly fun. I remember when my dear friend Prutha was starting her blog.. we'd spent countless email exchanges inserting up analytics, making it searchable and the likes... It's then when I realized.. Blogging is self expression. When she reached her first 100 followers... she told me. I grinned cheek to cheek... Blogging is fun, especially with minimum investment, you get to reach out to more people. Friends, strangers alike and talk about what you can contribute to people around! See what the Uniform Project achieved… It’s inspiring.
I blog because I can. As some wise person said "I write because therapy is freaking expensive!"

To my 100th........ Thanks SD for being you :-). Thanks Bhaia.. for the encouragement and help in setting up my own blog well! Thanks readers.. for reading, commenting and being such wonderful e-friends ;-)

And yes... It's a start!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Just Dissappear.... just vanish.

Being invisible.....Like Blogadda said... Mr. India is a cult movie... The ability to be only seen under red glass, being invisible on demand.. being able to hear everything and not be seen or be known....aaah if I had the power!
This is an entry to my "Being Invisible" contest in Blogadda... Here is the Pringoo product which catches my fancy

You know the setting... The "guy's" family has come to visit to see the "prospective" girl. They come with watchful, judgmental and affectionate eyes. The girl's family is all on their toes. The best cutlery is out, the yummiest food has been made, the cushions have been fluffed ten times before their arrival, and the front yard has been mopped one more time. The cousins peek through the window to "check out" the prospective groom and report to the girl waiting inside.
The girl, who has a zillion things going through her mind, has the awkwardness of the set up being on the forefront.
Then the knock on the door comes, the mom/cousin/aunt has come to say, come on out, they want to meet you. Be good and hey. Smile, keep the eyes lowered and say a prayer.
The girl darts eyes of sheer frustration and anger and giddiness.. But does what she is told. She enters.. She does the namaste to all, adjusting her duppatta just again. Keeping the eyes lowered as directed. Smiling and oh yes, really wanting to actually see the guy for whom all this fuss has been created. She sees him with the side glances, the kid cousins, her reporters lied, he is not all greek goddish, but actually stout with a freaking moustache... Oh..she tells herself.. Ok fine, looks are not all... lets calm down.
She sheepishly answers the "questions" of interviewing parents. She looks at her father, all calm; she can feel the concern under his breath. She looks at her mother and rest of the family making it all pristine perfect. Everyone is talking about everything possible including the weather....what the hell.. Weather when you decide my future. The boy is grinning cheek to cheek and staring at her...and damn it she has to have her eyes lowered... And then the ceremonious "cough" comes. The cough signaling that the "boy" and her go for a customary fifteen minute walk, a pre-set date- to figure if it’s a perfect fit for the rest of their lives. All she is thinking, is that seriously Samosa crumbs on his moustache.. she hides her giggles.
She goes, walks across the room. The watching family assesses.. every freaking thing. She gives the "exasperated" look to the mother. Why are you torturing me? I am not ready. Mother has the look "It's time" the look she has had ever since the girl graduated. Damn. The customary walk is done. The goodbyes are done. The families say, we will discuss. The girl breathes her sigh of relief, tells her parents, I need to go rest.
She goes to her room, presses the button on the "gadget" hidden below her choodi's. She is now invisible. No one knows. She sneaks in the boy’s car. No one knows. She sits, and listens. She listens to the detailed analytical report of the guy's aunt. Of how the samosa's were fried in oil and not Ghee. She listens to the sisters comments that the shoes gave her the height, she is not as tall. She listens to the father's worry of the girl being over qualified for his son. She listens to the mother of the "boy" being worried about the girl's speech or not knowing which vegetable needs no water to cook. How will she feed her son? She listens, laughs, wonders and continues on. The kid cousin whom she gave the candy has only praises to sing for her... She laughs at the gullibility of kids. She wonders why the boy has not spoken. At last the boy speaks... she listens intently.. looks beyond the moustache and hears him. He is direct.. says, the girl is nice, simple, well read. Who cares if the samosa's were not perfect, or there was a stain on the coffee table. Who really cares, if she had chocolate stuck in her upper tooth. The girl is a person first... and not an object you can check out.
The parents throw their hands in the air" This new generation". But he continues.. and she listens, though the crumbs on the moustache are annoying her. Is that laddu crumb or just samosa. Anyways...He says; fifteen minutes are not enough to make a lifelong decision. The families won’t permit a courtship to figure things out. He says.. its unfair to him and to the girl. He says, with what he saw, he likes her. But he will not objectify any other person another time. He asks the driver to take the next turn. They come to a stop below a tall building. He gets out, makes a quick cell phone. A really neat, hunky minus moustache guy comes out. He holds his hand, and says: He is my object of affection.
The parents once more throw their hands up in the air.
At this point, the girl really really wants to disappear.. One more time.

Note: The story above is a figment of my imagination. There is no resemblance to any person, living or dead. Also, this by no means is to poke any fun at a person's sexual orientation. Purely fictional and purely entertaining.

Updated to add: I also have nothing against men with moustaches(except my man)! In case you were wondering.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Sins against Gender-Stereotypes

The fun tag going around right now... is ‘My Sins against Gender-Stereotypes’.
Rules are simple... write down ten things that your gender stereo type does not do. Hmm... Well.. i thought I'd have tonnes.... But when I started writing, i realized, i do fit into a lot of girly stereo types.........darn... but here are the ten top most that stood out for me.

1. I have been the handy-woman around the house... got a picture frame to put up call me, got a crib to fix call me, got a broken faucet, i will attempt it.
2. Need for speed.. I love being in and driving a fast car. I miss my California days, where the speed limit was 75 and there was a minimum on some key freeways.
3. I have not liked the color pink for the longest time ever.. I must say, that's changing with my daughter growing up. I am getting more and more fond of it.
4. Heavy lifting.. I take pride in being able to carry a 60 pound bag up the flight of stairs. I take pride in being able to lift and move the couch around the house.
5. Enjoyed all types of sports.. though I suck at them.. I like to try each and every one of them. I like the adrenaline rush.. I love the excitement and above all I love the competition. I bet, SD and my dear friend can vouch for my competitive streak in a recent game of pool basket ball.
6. Tears of pain of bruises of cuts. I can handle them. I will not wince unless its excruciating.. like my ACL injury or more recently my labor. Besides these two, I don’t remember crying for other physical injuries.
7. House project.... goes hand in hand with being a handy woman i guess. But I itch to do a fix-me-up house, or stain a coffee table or even paint a room. All of these are things I want to rather than actually done.
8. I don’t know if this qualifies.. but lived alone, travelled alone and managed alone. Oh by the way, that does include filing my own taxes.. which is a freaking big deal for me.
9. Took pride in being tom boyish... one of the guys and still have a bunch of craziest guy pals.
10. Speak my mind.. all the freaking time. To the point, where I am infected for life with "foot in mouth" disease!

Hmmm... But I am a girly girl as well. I love my girl night outs, my long email conversations with friends, my clothes, shoes and purses. I can ask SD a zillion times, is this looking good. I enjoy my chick flicks as much as I love a good thriller. I can spend hours gossiping with my MIL. I thoroughly enjoy cooking and keeping my family glued. Above all.. i love being me. Opinionated yet sociable.
Feel free to take the tag if not done so already!

Acad versus Artsy

Recently I was talking with a friend about two different day care programs and approach. He went to research two schools with very similar background but completely different outlook.
One school focussed on creative arts and music. The other school focussed on academia and music.
The first school, taught the ABC's with art projects. The kids would draw or color and Apple and know that A is for apple. They would sing the "A" song and learn the sounds of the alphabet. The other, would show pictures of Apple, Ankle, Ant and relate it to real life. It would instill 'A' sounds like "aa" and then the kids would learn to recognise the alphabet. And then both schools would move on to the next alphabet.
The kids in both school seem well rounded. Probably the kids from the first school come home more messy thanks to the color overflow! But teaching the same thing in pretty different approaches.
As we both discussed pro and cons. We were both at a loss which one is better. I studied in a very academia focussed system. I did have paint, dance and sport classes as well. But still the focus was math and science. The friend of mine put it aptly..... untill 3 years, all the fun and frolic is great, but after 3, the kid needs to learn the way of the world.
I was a bit taken aback. Though, I still understood his point. One always wants the best for the kid, let the kid explore his best fit, but then there are norms or what you think are norms for the kids. You tell me, which conversation will go better: Oh my kid can add single digit numbers, or that my kid can draw entire beach scene.
Is three the new threshold for learning the real stuff? Art is an expression of the creative mind. The brush and the paper has no boundary. Academics is the best gift a child can ever receive.
I am at loss. My daughter V is coming close towards the threshold age! I probably will face the same conundrum soon- The Art way or the Acad way! Or may be.. I can figure out a way for V to have both.
Which route would you take for yourself, for your kids, your cousins.... does it really matter?