Thursday, February 24, 2011


Wiki knowledge tells me: “oatmeal has high content of complex carbohydrates and water-soluble fiber that encourages slow digestion and stabilizes blood-glucose levels"
But I read that right now, just two minutes before I was about to write this post. All I knew about Oatmeal is- It’s super healthy, you must eat it and it fills you up in a nice way.
The first time I ate oatmeal, I hated it. Not a big fan of gooey things! But hubby was a big fan and introduced me to different flavors of oatmeal. During our pregnancy, I grew to love it. And though it’s not a staple meal in our house, we always have it in the house (Thanking Costco!)
Recently with Sumit and my brother starting P90X routine, the Oatmeal consumption increased tenfold. They got this amazing Fruit N Cream flavor which I heart! Sadly, the plain oatmeal sat at the back on my pantry.
Luckily I stumbled upon Priya's blog and was amazed at how many things she uses oat meal in! Hmm..
I tried this one: Mixing plain Oatmeal while making dough for Paratha's/ Roti. There is no looking back. So every now and then, I mix one packet of the plain quick oats in my wheat flour while making the dough. The resulting roti's have no special flavor or texture.. it’s like Roti but with the added benefits of oatmeal!
It makes me feel good.
I might slowly start trying other things that with Oatmeal in them... lets see. There is this- Poha & Oats Cookie which my sweet tooth is calling me to make!

Anyways, recently, I am trying to, at least one meal a day, start with oatmeal. So make one packet, add nuts, cranberries followed by normal food. This I think is doing the following- giving me benefits of oatmeal but more importantly, the main food portion is getting reduced since oatmeal is filling me up in a healthy way. I have done this now for six days in a row. Realistically I know I will not be able to sustain the daily. But even if I do this a couple of times a week for a meal a day- No Harm Done.

Any Oatmeal ideas/ recipe's you got?

The most recent one I saw is Chefdruk's Oatmeal cake.. Yumm Yumm Yumm.. Vanessa I have to try it!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tag Time.

Tag Time... I saw this on Uma's.. perfectly worded: "I flicked it to make it my own!!!"
Hhee... Here is my list

1) Tell us about three ways you express your creativity.
a. Writing
b. Cooking
c. Occasional incomplete art projects
2) Who’s your favorite character from a book, play, film, or other work of art?
Definitely Robert Langdon. It might have to do with me being glued to The Lost Symbol. But I like the character a lot for the humility, the vast knowledge and the ability to keep calm.
3) What’s something you do really well that other people are amazed by?
Hmm, I guess cook. One set of friends can’t believe that I can finally make ‘edible’ Roti’s. The other set of friends get amazed that I do make them often.
4) What are you shy about? Or, what situations do you find make you shy?
Hmm. It’s not very often that I am shy. But I guess the one time that I am generally is in India in a gathering at with lots of families visiting. I really don’t know what to say in such gatherings.
5) What was the best day of your life so far?
Sky diving with my husband by my side and doing this with my FIL. And then showing the video to my then two year old with her wondering why is mum jumping off a plane!
6) What are the next five books you want to read?
Not picky. Any recommended one will be good. I have become a very slow reader. So it will take me about a year to read five. Yeah, it’s that bad now!
7) Write about something you feel should not have been invented.
Smart cell phones. Though I am addicted to one all the time. I feel we are so glued to our screens every time, we miss the nuances of life.
8) What do you want to be admired for?
Taking the path less chosen.
9) What do you prefer listening to, music with lyrics or music without?
Hmm, most of the time, SD would ask me, did you hear the words, so nice. I have to rewind and play back. I generally just get engrossed in the music. Some classic songs being an exception of course.
10) Three things by which to measure happiness: someone to love, something we like to do, and something to look forward to.
a. Who do you love – Family, Friends and Myself.
b. What do you like to do – Make people around me smile and comfortable.
c. What are you looking forward to this year? – Changes :-D
11) Tell us about the day you were born.
Very hard to forget- April 1. I guess I made people smile the day I was born!
12) Tell us about some of the things you experienced for the first time in 2010.
Being able to converse with V. Proper sentences and all. Very satisfying.
13) Describe what happiness means to you using just six words.
Life is Good. Smile it’s simple.
14) What’s the fastest you’ve ever driven, where, and why?
Over 100 mph, on I-5 from LA- SFO. Just because I love to drive fast!
15) Do you have a special, non-traditional cure for cold or some other illness?
Hmmm, ½ gukab jamun for kids and two for adults. The whole some goodness will make the illness go away.
16) If you had been born the opposite sex, what do you think would be different about your life right now?
I would have invested far more in stocks than shoes and purses.
17) What’s the best thing someone could say to you right now, right this minute?
I get you!

Now, consider yourself tagged... and I better be seeing some posts or emails about taking the tag up!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I am a movie snob!

There I said it!
I call it: "I have low tolerance for crappy Hindi movies" but.. I have been told (to some extent rightly) I am movie snob.
I can’t just pop any movie on DVD/ In Netflix or go in theaters and come out happy. I need to do my research, get feedback, possibly read Wiki about the said Hindi Movie and then say- Hmm.
Minus the cult classics and the ones I KNOW will have to be watched no matter what, I am a movie snob!
Sumit on the other hand is a movie addict. Any movie, he'll watch it. Sleep through it, wake up, rewind and watch it again. I think the only movie he willingly turned off in less than 30 minutes was Kites.
But back to the point- He is my movie list creator. He will watch a lot of movies and then shortlist the ones that I should/ must watch. Then he will watch it again with me and really be tensed through it- hoping, that I am enjoying the movie.
Now cut me some slack, I am not tyrannical- I won’t be cussing or shouting- "What the hell is this!" But he will know- The shudder, the eye roll, the quick yawn! And I feel bad for him, I really do. Poor fellow. Yes now you can sympathize with him.
So after all his hard work of creating my “Must Watch List that snobby Garima might enjoy”- I am happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed the following
- Atithi tum kab jaaoge
- Band Baaja Baraat (Loved this one…. A lot! A refreshing change.)
(And please excuse that I am reporting not recent movies now.... my snobbery has resulted me in watching them now)
The next on my must watch list (prepared painstakingly by husband!) is
- Phus gaya re Obama
There are others which are under review and will be shortlisted for my viewing pleasure shortly.
Sumit, Thanks a million for being patient and finding that one real gem of a movie in the tens of movies you endure. I love you for supporting my 'movie snobbery'

Note 1: There are others that need notable mention like-
Rajneeti (minus the crappy ending- Imagine this ending: They show Katrina as the politico and giving the shrewd look, like take that, it was my master plan to begin with!)

Note 2: Cult classics to me are movies which I can watch anytime, over and over again- Sarkar, OSO, Golmaal, Kabhi Kabhi, Silsila, Andaaz Apna Apna, Yuva, Omkara, K2H2, DDLJ, the 70's 80's generation movies. I am sucker for those... aaah.> Dharam in his romantic roles- Chupke Chupke ANyone. Amitabh in any of his roles. ..> I even enjoyed Shahn Shah, Rishi in the amazing amazing amazing chocolate lover boy with a soul, and the music of his movies... D. Anand- older classics.. and nothing can beat those

Note 3: For new releases.... I might watch them; it is very 'on mood'. Recently a bunch of my girls were going for No One Killed Jessica... and I bailed out last minute. I really was in mood for a lighter movie instead! But now that it’s on Netflix, I did watch it after ample feedback!

Note 4: Yes, I am pampered! Any recommendations from you, promise I wont bite!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My new digitized normal

We live in the Digital world. Clich├ęd but true. How much are you on the net? How much of your on-line life plays into the off-line life vice versa. Are you one of those who completes an activity and can’t wait to FB about it!

My definition of my new normal for the Digital World…. Go ahead read in my latest Smartly Chicago article.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Whats in your snack drawer??

Come on... spill it. I know you have one.. A secret stash in office, a special place in home pantry where the 'snacky' food is kept. Something which you will just pop in your mouth, every time.. hmm ok sometimes when you open the drawer or pantry! Tell me?

For me, when I was pregnant. It was filled- with snack size khakhra (Like toasted Indian Bread), Cereal Bars, Candy, Peanuts, Nuts, Tazo Teas, Small M&M's, crackers/biscuits, cream filled biscuits, ready to pop-pop corn for sure and never can go wrong with the Hide & Seek Chocolate biscuits! Pretty much all these things. My team knew about it. They were kind enough to let me know what is almost run out and what they want as well- This way we all are covered.
Slowly and surely I am happy to report my snack drawer has reduced contents now. You can still always find, teas, crackers, cranberries, occasional candies, ready to mix- hot coco, occasional sun flower seeds (which I force myself to eat!!!). Sadly along with this, you can find all my coins, with which I occasionally satisfy my sweet cravings- thanks to the vending machine. But I climb five floors in order to get to the vending machine- hoping a. I burnt some calories to justify the chocolate and b. while climbing the floors, my sugar craving has died and I can happily just buy some peanuts instead!
In my pantry however, its a snackers paradise. Ask any of my friends, they'd attest. Our pantry is lovingly called a "Mini Indian Store". I blame my Marwadi tongue to justify the abundance of snacks. At home, I open the pantry to say, take out onions for dinner, the sev/ bhujiya is staring at me lovingly. I only happily oblige! :-(
I half wish, there can be a mini fridge with a transparent door in my pantry. This way, the fruits start back at me accusingly and I occasionally them up instead of hmmm the other fully fried snack galore I tend to munch on!
So that's my secret stash... what's yours?

Monday, February 14, 2011

35 years!!!

It’s my In law's 35th Anniversary Today! Wow... Congratulations to them.
Though we will be not be there for celebrations in India! I am sure, they know we are there smiling and cheering them along.
Knock on wood, I am blessed. I have a good relation with my In-Laws. I have utmost respect for them and they adore me as well.
Since we live here in US and they in India, in the first few years of marriage, except phone calls, occasional Skypes and our busy trips to India, I didn’t really spend all that much time with them.
But right after we had V, my in-laws came to US for the first time. We spent a good five months together. Needless to say, before they came, I was a bit worried. How will I manage? Hope they still like me after they spend so much time with me. Hope I don’t become one of those- really uptight bahu's and honestly, I was scared. Since it was the first time of the entire family was going to under one roof.
Most of my worries went out the door very quickly.
They were the sweetest, very understanding and a whole lot of fun! My FIL would spend hours just playing with V. Telling her stories, rhyming poems and all this while, the four month old V would just stare at him and may be smile. He would wait patiently just for that one smile. My MIL is a fabulous cook. She completely got our 'quest' for healthier eating and would cook up the most amazing oil free paratha's. When I would return from work, before I could even put my bag down, our tea would be ready. We both would sit enjoy tea, chit chat and I would play with V.
Both my FIL- MIL are like a well oiled machine. Both have their own share of health complications. But they stand by each other strong. They get each other. Every time, I would try to 'cook' something special for them, my MIL would remind me.. oh your papa does not eat this or that. Every time I would plan an activity with her, FIL would tell me her preferences. It's very different for our parents generation- I don’t think I have seen them or even my own parents hold hands in front of us, or say I love you! But the care they show each other in small and big things is amazing. Actions speak louder than words!
My In-laws would know how the other would react in a given situation. For example- Taking FIL golfing with Sumit and his friends. My MIL said, oh he would love to try it out. And he did. Asking Papa- will mummy like Pasta. He said, as long as you spice it up, she would love it. And she did. After 35 years of togetherness, they completely get each other.

Papa, Mummy: wishing you a Very Happy Anniversary and hope you celebrate decades of togetherness!!!

We love you- Sumit, Garima, V!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Do you plan your dinners in advance?

I don’t. Well, I try to; but generally on my walk home, I think about which vegetable is almost spoiled, what's left in the fridge and above all what I think my tummy feels like eating. I sometimes can’t make up my mind and ask hubby and V, only to get confused and then make something completely different.
For busy lives, they recommend- plan your weekly menu in advance, will save you the procrastination! You can do grocery shopping accordingly and be on track. Hmm. Firstly, for us, hubby does the grocery shopping, so that's out the window and secondly- menu planning- I have tried that. Once. I stuck to one day in the entire week. The rest, it got too hard to keep up.
My household is not fussy when it comes to food. They eat what I cook. But we are a pampered lot. Over the years and a lot of experimentation later, our own standards of food at home have increased! We like to eat different things each night. Left over’s are perfect lunch the next day. The foodies in us makes it vary from Indian, to Thai, to Pasta's to Panini's to Mexican, to Lets mix and match - called Tapas night (in my mind!) ;-) all in a week's timeframe.

Hence, back to the original problem- What to make for dinner tonight? There are those evenings, when I say "Black Bean burgers tonight pakka"... and dinner turns out to be "Palak Roti" Just because I felt like being more involved in the kitchen! Hence my walk-home-menu-planning goes out the window.
I think of myself as an average planned person. So there are times, I know- I will pre-soak the beans or lentils, I will finely chop the vegetables in advance, or buy the sour dough bread for the Panini's from that one baker which we love! It’s not all that random. But generally speaking- for everyday dinners in our house- It's as random as it can get.

In your household, how do you decide- what's for dinner? How much time to you spend in deciding the menu? Does it bother you at all in what's for dinner tonight? Do you cook every day?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chicago Blizzard 2011

Chicago faced one of its winter storms....the blizzard this week. IT was crazy, it could have been worse and there are lessons learned for City of Chicago, for us Chicagoans and above all... the biggest one: If Mother nature is in its full form, dont mess with it.
You can read more about this in My Smartly Chicago article!!