Thursday, March 30, 2017

Before the trip, an update on 'Getting Fit'

Spring Break is here! Yay, well let me restate, spring break for my 9 and 4 year old is here, yay and instead of maniacally looking for child care and classes, we are using the time wisely and heading to the beach.

So before start our beach bumming and lazing around on the soft sand under a gentle sea breeze and the sun making us relaxed, here is an update on the wonderful buddying up and Getting Fitter business.

My buddies are ‘at it’ along with me; we are sharingdelicious yet healthier variations of recipes, tracking our meals in My Fitness pal and above all are nudging each other to push a little harder in the gym. And the support helps, it really does!
We are just nudging and not nagging and my husband, Sumit will be quick to remind me that I am on the 'edge between nudging and nagging' so back off! :-)
Trust me when I say this: NOT A SINGLE POUND LOST- in 65 days of continuous logging in my meals painstakingly in Fitness Pal and 45 days of waking up at idiotic 5:30 am on weekdays for my gym class, NOT A SINGLE POUND LOST!

BUT, and this But is important: I am feeling so much healthier, I can hold a plank for 41 seconds instead of three seconds, I can do 14 continuous push-ups instead of zero and above all, I can carry 2-2 gallons of milk on my 4th floor walkup unit without crashing on the couch right after!
Yes, my standards of fitness are very basic, I call them 'achievable goals' or 'baby steps' or even 'let me get to this goal and then move a small step up'.

Trust me, for as long as I remember, I have felt 'unhappy about my shape or my arms or my flab or my F-A-T or just hating myself after I chow down that cake' and for right now, just doing something about it is making me feel happy.

The other day my 9 year old was talking about fitness and Sumit asked her, who is fit according to her and why: She very casually said: You and mummy, since you do yoga every day or go to the gym and are happy.

Of course we were gushing and explaining her about the three pillars of being Fit according to us: Good food, good work out but above all Mental Peace. With the most emphasis on the last one ‘mental peace’

BUT, my 9 year old's comments made me very happy; she does not look at me as ‘as I view myself’. She looks at me being F-I-T and being happy and that itself is the best body image lesson I could ever give her without even trying to.

Now, all heavy conversation aside....... be safe and be happy and I will be back from my beach vacation all relaxed and sun-tanned and craving more fun in the sun!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Keep it Simple Silly!

This past weekend weather wise was gloomy, rainy and a little cold. Well its Chicago in Spring time :-)
All right, no weather comments, our winter was really good this year.

But in this weekend in midst of meeting friends, celebrating our friend's kids milestone birthday's by Sunday evening we were all 'spent', not tired but just really needed a relaxed evening in.
Sisters, Friends for life!

So what did we do? Really nothing but still a lot!

Both the girls received long oil massages a la moi, followed by their long baths. And then the sisters unwind-ed with a board game while I sat with them and hand fed them- by choice.

The girls are now 9 and 4 and really self sufficient (the 4 year old does get fed her last few bites at mealtime), but it felt really good- Just to feed them with no time crunch.
From a while ago, remembering their baby zone

The little angels are growing up and there is only I realize as they get older, the time for cuddling and 'I Love you's' will reduce.... and so this Sunday evening, they played, while I hand fed them their favorite meals and time stood still for me to get amazed and just enjoy them be in their normal zone!

From even more 'long time ago'

Keeping is simple, really simple!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Femi-Nazi….. No Thank You Please!

Here is what Mira Rajput, Shahid Kapoor's wife said" “I love being at home, I love being a mother to my child, I wouldn’t want to spend one hour a day with my child and rush off to work, why did I have her? She is not a puppy; I want to be there for her as a mother.”
Does her line bother me? Like the hoards of posts out there, of how her thoughts are antiquated. Honestly no!

I think it’s a very matter of fact line and often I have felt the guilt of only spending one hour with my kids and just hugging them before jumping back on a conference line. So Yes, it’s actually a true statement. I have wondered why it feels like I am juggling the world to ONLY get an hour with the kids. Is it worth it?

What Mira says is actually true. Whether I like it or no, for us mothers the guilt follows no matter what our path.

Privilege of not working, privilege of making a choice of working, privilege of husbands pitching in, not having the privilege to choose, all aside. I think as mothers, if one thing we have not learned is being supportive of each other as mothers!

I have my own village of friends, my mom friends and it’s not based on if they work or not, it’s based on 'we genuinely like each other and have shared core values (yes cussing and bitching is also a shared common value)'.

Our friendship is based on ‘Please can you pick up my child since I am not well', It’s based on, “Can you talk to her, I am loosing it right now with her” Its based on 'I am just too tired today, can you please.. .' It’s based on ‘Let me pick up the school play costume for your daughter”.
Its a village of MY friends and trust me working or not has nothing to do with it. It’s just a support system in place.

I actually agree with every single thing Mira has said. So let me break up her lines and give my two cents...

Mira: I love being at home...
Garima: and I am sure she has to go out supporting her hotness-Greek- god- of- a- husband (Sumit, sorry!!!) in his media events, or running errands or whatever. Don’t we all?  I do love being home and just putting my feet up or folding laundry while Netflix binge watching on or just having a board game night with my friends and family!

Mira: I love being a mother to my child... 
Garima: I mean I have posts and posts gushing on them and gmail accounts filled to the brim with their pictures! I am who I am with my two beautiful kids in tow.

Mira: I wouldn’t want to spend one hour a day with my child and rush off to work... 
Garima: Oh yes, the mommy guilt. I even feel guilty when I am out with my girlfriends on a spa party (true, I just think of them a little less though while getting my nails done as compared to a conference call). It doesn’t mean I don’t live my life, but I do miss them. And I do wish I could pause time and just watch them sleep or just not be yelling 'Lets go we are late' ALL THE TIME!

Mira: Why did I have her? She is not a puppy; I want to be there for her as a mother.”... 
Garima: I have had this similar feeling more than I would like to confess! This one I differ a little though. I feel with whatever I do, work or not, I want to be there mentally, emotionally and physically for my child.

Currently I am a working mother of two, I have tried being a Stay at home mommy for two and that really didn’t work out well for me, I was really cranky all the time and snappy and generally nasty. I was there physically but not happy emotionally.

And I realized FOR MYSELF (Yes Sumit you can now say I-Told-You-So). I am better person and a happier person when I do something for myself, be it working, be it going to the gym, be it sleeping in, be it sending my kids for summer in India and reconnect with my partner in crime.

And I very strongly believe in, If I am happy, it shows and overall my family will be happier!!

My social media stream filled up with dishing Mira on a platter and saying 'Its' not the right example for the daughters, it’s not with today's age' etc etc. . I STRONGLY disagree; I am daughter of a home maker, a very strong, extremely well educated and really awesome example of a mother. And I think she has set an amazing example for me, and she reminds me and my sister in law often: working or not, Be yourself, be happy and you need to be there for your kids, for your family!

Me working right now does not make my choices wrong or right. It just makes it something that makes me happier, more content! Of course, I do fantasize about the other side, grass on the other side is always greener isn’t it?

More diplomatically, every mother is a working mother.
Trust me, food does not magically appear, snots don’t get magically cleaned up, laundry does not get magically folded, schedules don’t magically work like a well-oiled machine, homework’s don’t get turned in on time, family balance does not magically happen.

All mothers are working; it’s a lot of freaking work to be a mother, a parent!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sometime I get fancy without trying...

.....or rather I get fancy when I make a mistake.

Now Mac N Cheese, at times is like the quick fix dinner on those days when you'd rather not do anything else. The Aunt Annies's and the veggie loaded Mc N. Cheese quiet a staple in our family for the simplicity of it.

Blob of the pasta!
The other evening, Sumit said, lets make the mac n cheese from scratch instead, and it had been a while, and I said why not. Long story short, my pasta/ mac n cheese looked like a 'blob' of too much sauce and over cooked pasta. I was quiet confident that the kids and me would not like to eat it. Sorry, we are vain that way, food needs to look good.

That evening, I was on the mend from a nasty flu and was in no mood to start over or even order in. So the brain sparks flew and 'Mac N Cheese Balls' were born!

Mac N Cheese Balls Recipe
1. 3 bowls of cooked Mc N Cheese (it being gooey and sticky is not required)
2. For crisping: 2 cups Panko, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3. Oil for roasting/ crisping the Mac N Cheese balls

Note: I have this cup pan which makes quite a lot of things in my kitchen, and is non stick, so easy to clean and its an amazing alternative to frying. It gives amazing round shaped whatever you want with 1/10 of the oil needed for frying. I have made, Veg. Manchurian, Kofta Balls, Lauki Kofta, Appa, and now mac n cheese balls!

1. Mix all ingredients of the crisping and lay it in a flat plate
2. Let you ready to eat Mc n cheese cool down and make balls of it. Roll it in the crisping flour (Panko, Cheese+ herbs)
3. Heat the pan, and place a little oil add the ready to cook balls and let it get crisp (Yes you can fry them as well, but then you will need more panko and more oil.... and more time in the gy ot burn it off!)
4. It takes about 2-3 minutes to get crisp on each end

Note: Since Mc N Cheese is soft, you have to be careful in turning the 'balls over'. One can even make a 'Mc N Cheese' patty/ burger on a regular pan, like this Falafel recipe of mine. and enjoy!!

The girls and us loved it. I think Miss V was excited to have 'appetizers for dinner' and Miss Chatterbox S loved dipping this in Ketchup and enjoying!

For me, I enjoyed the 'fanciness of cooking' and getting complimented 'Such fancy every day cooking mom'

Monday, March 6, 2017

Sometime you don't need to say 'I love you'

It was one of those days.... those tired long days where you are just exhausted and you still have a lot on your plate left...

It was one of those days and I am driving home around 6:30 pm with the two girls in the car listening in while I whine to my husband, "I am so tired tonight honey'. He acknowledges and says, 'I hear you, see you soon!'

I pull into the garage and climb up to the house and am left astounded.

The husband has done the following: moved his meetings around for an hour to complete dinner preparations and emptied the dishwasher and I am greeted with a quick peck on the cheek and he runs to get back on his work calls.

I was left speechless and misty eyed!

The Panini that night could not have tasted better!

This one evening was way more that any amount of "I Love you” s we have said to one another.

It's the empathy of " I understand”, it’s the acknowledgment of “It’s tough and I got your back” and it’s the true sense of feeling “We are in this together

Miss V was quick to observe and say 'Thank you papa for dinner tonight'.

We all talk about gender equality, empowering our next generation of children but actions speak louder than words. I am hoping my girls realize that being in this world today: It’s the partnership and it’s the support of one another which makes a successful person, a successful spouse and a successful family.

Girl or Boy at this point really does not really matter.

Thank you Sumit for always being there for me and the girls and actually following the ideology you believe in so strongly!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

They are only this little.... now

Kids say the darnest things....

This qualifies more as 'mis pronunciations' rather that funny anecdotes and as my final baby is growing up, I want to make sure I track this and embarrass her later as she grows older!

'Lipzoc'... Mummy can you please put strawberries in my lipzoc.
---It is funny as hell, we corrected her once saying its Ziploc and she thought we were making fun of her, so she said 'You don’t know, its 'lipzoc' and not 'Ziploc'

'Valina'... Little Lady says... my favorite flavor is Vallina
--- We know its Vanilla, but I just don’t want to correct her, Vallina ice-creams are just so good, what do I say!

'Ear is broken'...Little lady sadly gets ear aches pretty often and then she says the next mornings 'My ear is broken please be careful around it!'
--- Yes, I can tell her its ear ache, but where is the fun in that, Ear is broken is just so innocent.

Kids grow up way too quickly (cliche but true) and in a few years when I am reading these posts, it will me remind of 'Valina icecreams' and the giggles that surround my house!

Life is too short, enjoy the silliness!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A balanced meal... and Alloo Tikki Recipe: Yep, the healthier kind!

Being on any kind of fitness regime does not mean giving up food, its actually quiet the other way around. You need nicer and healthier food to ensure you can continue any workout you are signed up for. This way you dont pass out with less energy!!

And if you are just following portion control like me, it's even more important, since you want to ensure that every morsel counts for a filling feeling and a delicious taste!

So there are days, when my lunch looks like this: A delicious salad loaded with goat cheese, fruits and quinoa!

and then there are days when my dinner is this: Alloo Tikki

I could to the latter, any day you want! But to ensure we stick better to our goals, I modified for a healthier version.

So here a recipe of 'Allo-Chole Tikki' a North Indian Delicacy/ Chaat item which is high on taste and with this modified version, a healthier version as well. I agree this is elaborate, so definitely not an everyday item!

'Allo-Chole Tikki' = Potato Patty, smothered with garbanzo curry and garnished with beaten yogurt, chutney and spices

Makes 10

Potato Tikki(Cutlet)
Potato: Mashed 3 cups
Quinoa: Boiled 1.5 cup
Finely shredded carrot: 1 cup
Finey chopped Kale: 1/2 cup
Salt, Pepper, paprika: Per taste
Cinamom: 1 tsp
Chaat Masala: 2 tsp
Bread: 1 slice torn in smaller pieces (Helps to bind better)
Panko: For coating: Optional
Oil: 2-3 tsp for cooking

Potato Cutlet:
1. Mix all the ingredients really well in a dough consistency and adjust seasoning
2. Make medium balls (~10-12) and flatten like a burger, coat in panko/ bread crumbs
3. On medium flame, on a pan with some oil, let the burger crispen 3-4 minutes each side.
4. When both sides are crisp, alloo tikki/ burger is ready!

Chole: IP Version
Onions: 1 medium finely chopped
Tomato: 1 medium finely chopped
Garlic: 3 cloves finely chopped
Ginger: 1/2 inch finely chopped
Carrots: 1 cup finely shredded/ chopped
Serrano Peppers: per taste
Salt, Pepper, paprika, Garam Masala: Per taste
Cinnamon: 1 tsp
Chole Masala: 3 tsp
Optional: Moti Elaichi -1, Bay Leaves- 2/3, Cloves 3/4
Garbanzo: 1.5 cups soaked. If you use canned, adjust cook time- see below
Oil: 2-3 tsp for cooking

Chole in IP:
1. IP in Saute mode: Add 2 tsp of oil all spiced
2. After 1 minute, add ginger, garlic and onions
3. Saute for 2-3 minutes till fragrant
4. Add the tomatoes, carrots and saute for 4-5 minutes
5. Add the washed soaked garbanzo (or canned)
6. Close the lid. IP in Manual, High Pressure for 25 minutes. (If using canned time= 10 minutes)
7. It was a slow release of pressure, and I opened the IP after 1 hour or so.
8. Note: If making in regular pressure cooker, pre-soaked (overnight) is better, or use canned, timings for pressure cooker is the same.

1 cup yogurt beaten and 1/2 cup water added to liquefy
Green Chutney
Tamarind Chutney
Chopped cilantro, onions
Fine Bhujia/ Sev & Peanuts: Optional

In a plate, lay the cutlet, cover with the chole curry and garnish!

Enjoy when hot, tastes better with company, so call me over when you make it next!

Sorry, no pictures... this was gobbled up fairly quickly!

Note: This has a high content of protein thanks to quinoa and the chickpeas. So though this is higher on calorie count, it is well balanced with all the healthier vegetables. The other element for all my curries which is a big hit int he family is shredding carrots in any gravy I make. Be it gnocchi, or Chick Pea stew, or even simple potato curry! Carrots : well the kids enjoy it without knowing there was ever carrots in them!