Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Salsa kind of night

First things first... pictures below are borrowed from Internet....... We were super hungry so gobbled up the food prior to the pictures..
It's a weeknight and with grandparents in the house, there has been a lot of Indian food. The kids, the grandparents and us, we all needed a break... So Mexican menu with its flair of spice and its simplicity of 'assembling' was perfect!

We cooked in the house and then took everything on the deck to enjoy the weather, play games and enjoy the food- the summer way!

Nacho: Tortilla chips smothered with cooked black beans, salsa, cheese and Guac
Taco: Toasted shells with black beans, roasted vegetables and all toppings
Quesadilla: The black bean quesadilla with Guac is the perfect combination
Accompaniments: Pico De Gallo, Salsa Verde and Guacamole along with finely chopped Habanero chilies, Cilantro and of course lettuce!

And trust me when I say this, my family loves Mexican food and the best accompaniment to the Mexican food is the 'Fresh Salsa' So make small portions and enjoy! Here is my recipe for the quick Salsa Verde....

Portion: 1 cup
1. Green Tomatillo 4-6 washed and quartered
2. Garlic Cloves: 2 peeled and washed
3. Jalapeno: Sliced and De-seeded: 1 (If you like it spicier, feel free to use Habanero Chili)
4. Spices: Salt, Black pepper: Per Taste
5. Olive Oil: 2 tsp

1. In a flat pan, heat the olive oil
2. After 1-2 minutes place all the ingredients in the pan for 'pan roasting/ Fire Roasting'
3. The flat heated pan helps in 'charring' the ingredients which is what you want
4. After 3-4 minutes, place the lid on the pan to let the tomatillo juices flow out and get cooked
5. Turn off the flame and let it all cool
6. Pulse in a food processor for 1-2 minutes.

Note: I like my salsa, chunkier to I don’t pulse it too much

Note: Tomatillo is quiet tart by nature, so cooking it well makes it tangy and reduces the tartness, you don’t need additional lemon.

If you don’t have Tomatillo you could fire roast the red tomatoes, however you do need to be careful since tomato is juicier than tomatillo so cover the pan sooner, you may add lemons to the red... needless to say, this will not be 'Verde' 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Vanity is beautiful

A story, a realization and the simplicity of it

A friend of my older daughter Miss V, lets calls her Ms. Inspiring.

The kids were hanging out together, laughing, giggling and just having a great time especially since they met after such a long time. They are now in different schools but hang out when schedules permit. I notice Ms. Inspiring's hair cut... I mean she went from a hip length to a short bob and she totally rocked it. But I asked her, how come?

Ms. Inspiring tells me, ' I donated my hair for kids who need it' and I was astounded. Before I could respond she continued: 'It's hair, they will grow back' and she went off to play with Miss V and the other kids.

And I was standing in the doorway.... astounded and definitely inspired.

That was 1.5 years ago.

I started growing my hair, honestly mainly out of vanity. I haven't had long hair since a very long time (11 years ago I had grown them out to style them well for my wedding!)
So I started growing them and thoroughly enjoyed the buns, the  braids, the wind through them and having the girls style them and play with my hair. I had completely forgotten about that conversation with the 8 year old friend of V.

Recently someone in the extended family was diagnosed with a 'Big C' and that's when it all came crashing in...... the conversation with the 8 year old, the face of my relative and the shallowness of my vanity.

Long story short (no pun intended):

The before and The after

Thank you Miss. Inspiring for making it so simple 'It's hair, they will grow back'

The hair donation went to Wigs for Kids whose motto is 'Helping children look like themselves and live their lives!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Day 3, 4: Resort Stay & Journey to El Nido

Continuing the story of the Phillippines in a week, read here for Day 1 and Day 2

Day 3: Rainy days, but a stay at the plush resort with friends

This day started again with torrential rain fall and was our day with the friends. We had originally planned to take an island hopping tour and explore Mactan/ Lapu Lapu. But rain forced us to improvise and we all headed to the lavish pools of the resort.
So when it rains, we enjoy the pool even more! It's brilliant actually!

A lazy lunch and some more conversations followed. My friend and I decided to get matching tattoos (sticker ones) and this day turned out to be a lovely relaxed and fun filled day. By the evening, they were 'not' ready to return to HK and we packed and 'got ready' to head to Palawan/ El Nido the next morning.

I am so thankful for great friends, who adjust their own schedules to take a combined vacation. Though we met them after 5 years, it felt like we started where we left off and it was just simple and of course with a few more kids in the mix.

Day 4 A morning flight to Palawan and a long 7 hour drive to El Nido

Cebu- Flight to Palwan/ Puerto Princesca- 7 hour drive to El Nido!!!
The TRAVEL TIME is the ONE thing I wish I could change. It was really late that we found out about a a direct flight from Cebu to El Nido, so for anyone who is planning, do that. Cebu- El Nido direct
It saves you a day of travel time and this way you can maximize your time on the beach instead of travelling from one island to the other.

We reached El Nido around 7 pm and met our host of the Bed n Breakfast we had booked for. Tony was the sweetest host and really helped us navigate the local area. His BnB was one street off the beach and really in the middle of the activity hub, all the fun and frolic the city of El Nido has to offer. He made us feel so at home and went above and beyond to help us book our tours for the next two days.

Though we had done research and knew we wanted to do Tour A & C, he connected us to his known tour company Caldao Tours and booked us in for the next morning with a custom Vegetarian Lunch order. We walked around town, grabbed some dinner and then headed back for some rest and more sleep.

More on Tour A & C coming up

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

You thought I forgot???

Nope, I have not forgotten about the whole business of buddying up, logging food and being a little more active than I was before. The long, painful but satisfying journey for 'Getting Fit' 

So I am still 'at it' albeit slower with hiccups and not 'glamorous results' but hey the slow and steady wins the race.
And the winner gets a pat on the back :-)

Working Out
Last few weeks, with a travelling spouse, the 'workout' took a back seat. Yes, I could have done the exercises at home, but I decided sleeping in will be better (It was!!!)
But now that life is back to normal with equal number of adults to kids, I am back at the gym. The first day back in the class after 3.5 weeks was crazy bad and though I was not really sore, I definitely was 'tired' sooner. But the rhythm is settling back in which is a good thing. However, my old old knee injury is acting up and until the doctor gives me a clean bill of health, I plan to just enjoy the "Ride" class, which is 45 minutes of riding a bike mixed in with limited strength and cardio. Love it!

My Fitness Pal
Yippie, 50 days streak aka logging in almost every morsel of food in the app to see how much I am eating. I have been logging but have been over the calorie intake almost every single day. I have been unbalanced, ideally it should be in the ratio of 50:30:20 for Carb: Protein: Fat. I have been 'Way Off' and I blame all the delicious goodness of Indian sweets and snacks around the house.

BUT I am logging religiously, sometimes at a high level sometimes faking the data based on memory for the day.  I know I know, hopefully will get back in the groove soon enough.

Buddying up
With summer setting in and our eagerness to be out and about, my buddies and I are 'at it'. Even a simple message of 'Good Job' or 'Let’s go to the gym tomorrow' or 'Why haven’t you logged in' are good encouragements.
Of course, my new buddy aka my husband is waking up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 and coming with me to the gym. And having this new buddy is all the more 'fun'

So there you have it, the details...

There has been no weight loss, but NO GAIN as well. There have been NO clothes being suddenly too big for me (I wish!), but the best result for me: I am able to sustain extended soccer games with my kids in the park and really make a run after the Frisbee in the evenings, so I am truly loving that!

For me getting fit is less about 'the vanity' of it but more about the 'energy levels' of it. And though the compliments help, the true fun is listening to my daughters chat in the morning: 'Mummy just came back from her yoga and she is stinking eeeew'
I chase them every now and then to slather them with a 'sweaty hug'.

Perfect way to start the morning.

Friday, June 2, 2017

When you least expect it...

When you least expect it...

There was a time when I was IN the 'blogging circuit', meeting fellow bloggers, attending various events, reviewing theater etc.
And now as time has gone by, I have become less and less involved in these.. I do still enjoy blogging and writing and having an outlet. I still follow my favorite readers and enjoy the conversations, i am what you call a blogger with no readers ;-)

And then yesterday I get an email from 'Indian Top Blogs' that I am listed in the directory and have earned a spot on the the 'Top Blogs'
Well... what do you know!

Don't believe me, I know you don't... check out their link..

So when you least expect it, you may get surprised and its definitely a good feeling!

I guess a speech is needed, I mean all 'Oscar winners' give it... So here it goes
'Thank you my faithful reader(s) [I wonder if anyone more, the stats on the blog show a few daily, so thank you for being patient with me]
Thank you my kids, my husband, well you are the topics in most posts and it is indeed fun to capture your antiquities [Though not fun to live them.. I mean she did what]
And then of course thank you food... you add the 'spice' to my posts, no pun intended'