Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A full filling falafel evening

One good thing about blogging about recipes is when I want to re-cook them, I know exactly where to look and what to do, since it’s my own already simplified and modified recipe for a  Quick Food Fix, I blogged about them in 2015 and 2016 so making them again was way over due!

That’s what Monday night was… a full filling Falafel evening. Everything was laid out and kids made and enjoyed their own Pita Sandwiches!
 A picture to tempt you (and also to show off)

A simple thing that my older one said in the evening: “Mummy hoping this satisfies your craving” I melted. 
Over my California trip in December one evening walking on the streets of San Diego (Gas Lamp Quarters), I mentioned to the Chatterbox that night, I am craving Falafel. And that was it… but weeks later, she remembered, and last night over the delicious sandwich she said “Mummy hoping this satisfies your craving”. Oh Yes, It did and so much more!

It also reminded me that simple conversations with the kids may have a lasting impact. Hearsay, an example, a story, a conflict: Kids keep absorbing and absorbing and I have no idea what will shape their little sponge like malleable minds. J So keep it as simple as possible and as honest as possible. These kids continue to amaze me and I learn everyday (and also pull my hair out on most days!)

So how was your Monday after the Holiday season and settling in back to routines?

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018: Year in Review: The year of Self Revelations

Before I start with my year in review, I read the past few years summary and it makes me smile. It reminds me of how blessed I am, how life goes up and down but what counts is the good memories and the not so good ones which make me tougher and stronger.

To continue the tradition of Year in Review: 2018: The year of self revelations

The year started with a planned surgery. This kind of set the pace ahead for me. My mum kept her life on pause and came to help me. My gosh, she just picked it up and ran with it. She managed everything in the house and Sumit managed all the other stuff. I was pampered, well cared for and above all the path to recovery was so much simpler! A few friends went over and above (as always) and saved me from "cabin fever". Getting a surprise Paint the Town Read, the night before the surgery was awesome.

Over the years, I think i have improved at figuring out my relationships, some are social, some are true, some are simple and some are complicated. The year just past makes me feel more and more at ease. Sometimes I did feel petty, but then common sense trickles in and I breather a huge sigh!

We had an intense discussion among dear friends recently and the moral of the conversation was "Go Deep not Wide" Now mind out of the gutter: The point was, friendships will always get wider, we meet new people, develop new relationships etc. However the depth in the relationship is what matters.

The other big self revelation was: "It's fun to be silly and being silly is fun"
Over a college reunion this summer, I felt like no time had passed in our friendships. We pushed each other in pools, we chatted till wee hours, we bitched, we laughed and on and on. And there was no judgement. It was just so simple.
I was recapping this to my older daughter, Miss V later. She said "Mum you and your friends are so silly and so cute". This made me smile.

As I see pictures of the year gone by, my favorite ones are the "silly ones" and not those pretty perfect ones! The new family mantra is "It's fun to be silly and being silly is fun"

A very dear friend of mine and I were talking at how "unexpected" life can be. I remind her often (by yelling at her sometimes). The unexpected makes us tougher and there is always light at the end of the tunnel. We just need to be patient. This year has reminded me Again: Life happens, resilience is helpful. And it will be OK.

Now to the travel of the year!
We soaked in the sunshine in Tampa with my parents, cousins and the kids got to enjoy the Harry Potter World. The girls got pampered by their grand parents over summer. Their 2 months of summer were split in India and Africa with cousins, loads of laughter, ice creams and lots of TV. What an experience! We traveled to New York, South Korea, Canada, India and ended the year with another "unplanned planned" trip to California.

My girls are becoming mini adults with full blown emotions, tantrums and laughter. As the year draws to a close, I feel eternally grateful to my parents, i wish I am half as self-less as they are. My
brother and sister in law, who are just a phone call away (though I barely call). They always pick up and I can just be the little girl of the house again. The friendships which have soared, deepened and above the support system here gets stronger. Of course, the partner in crime who continues to be the rock solid support.

2018 A year, filled with ups and downs and surprises, some good some just like a bad dream. A year with loud fights and even rowdier laughter. A lot of game nights and even more biking on the lake.What a year it was!
Looking forward to 2019 with dreams, successful recoveries, more laughter, more travel, more gatherings with crazy laughter and above all more simpler times!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Wait, what: 6. No Way

Yes, Little Lady is now 6.
You need fingers on both hands to count how old she is... wait what, 6 No Way!!!

Little Lady: Who knew this nick name...Little Lady will be so apt. She is the Little Lady of the house or the Little Sassy Lady of the house!!!

A letter for your 6th Birthday for 6 Life's Lessons honey"

1. Be Yourself
I wish I had learnt it way earlier. Be yourself. More than that: Be comfortable with who you are. You will evolve with age, but be comfortable with that.

2. Be Kind
This is you, you are kind, empathetic and you figure out how to make it nicer for someone else. This kindness is what makes you unique and loved and pampered. Your little acts of kindness make me want to do better as well

3. Trust
Trust people and as you get older have the ability to let people trust you. Of course, don't go trusting blindly. Yes, Unicorns are mythical. But have trust in its mythical powers if that's what makes you smile.

4. Enjoy food
As a foodie myself, your relationship with food worries me. You try it, but you are not driven by it. Food brings everyone together, makes travel fun and above all is the easiest thing. You said it this thanksgiving: "We always have food and always have people over" Remember this!

5. Speak Up
And you do, you speak your mind, your heart all the time. As you will get older you may get inclined not to. But remember Lesson 1 "Be yourself" and speak up. It can be contradicting. Always Speak Up.

6. It's okay for pants to be loose!
Now this.... you my little sassy lady: My fashionista! If you had it your way, you would wear dresses and tutu's 100% of the time! And for you, pants always have to be fitting. But remember: "It's okay for pants to be loose" So if its in your closet you wear them, you wear them like the coolest thing on the planet and be your own trendsetter!

My Little Lady, Happy 6th Birthday!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


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.

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
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
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

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.

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
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
1 Avocado mashed up.

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!