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.

Snap.
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
Ingredients
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
Spices
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

Process:
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.

Assembly:
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
Ingredients:
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
Optional:
1 Avocado mashed up.

Process:
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!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

I CAN go in on my own...

The 7 words of my kindergartner at school drop off: I can go in on my own!

And this is how the journey of growing up, being independent begins... and no breaks in sight. Yep, a good thing I know.
Of course she followed there words by "I really don't need help" with a subtle eye roll and smile.

The school at her age group has a car line. I drop her off, she takes her stuff, goes to the locker, prepares and heads into class. Alone, Well not alone but with all her friends chatting and giggling away. But no parents.

At pick up- she packs her stuff, waves her (long) good byes and then as her name is called, she comes out, buckles up in the car and the school day is done.

The baby of the house still skips, twirls, hops and humms around the house. But now she claims, she can go in to the school on her own.

The logical part of my brain says, they are growing up and its a part and parcel of growing up.
The practical part of the brain says, you have done this before with the older child.
And yet,
The emotional aka the mush part of the brain says... Noooooo They cant grow up yet!

So yes, as much as my 5 and 10 year old claim they can do stuff on their own, I hate to break it to them: I plan to continue to helicopter-mom them!



Monday, September 17, 2018

Potato... or poh-ta-to


Recently, I had an animated conversation with a few friends about my favorite vegetable to cook with and eat as well.... potato.
I have no clue how we landed in that discussion in midst of the cacophony of the kids, but yes the animated conversation of potato continued.

Here is what I realized:
  • Amongst my friends, I was the only ONE who shared her love for this amazing and versatile vegetable, potato (I may have to look for new friends)!
  • The ones who did like potato choose not to buy it. Health reasons they say (uuuh, I never did think about potato as healthy well unhealthy as they reminded me!)
  • A friend jokingly asked me what do I cook with it. And the list of things I make with potato rambled off my mouth, even quicker than when someone asks me, how Old are your kids! (Yup, I also need to re-evaluate my priorities)

Potato.... aaah, the golden bliss vegetable, which makes everything easy, to bind the patty, to cook as a quick fix dinner, to broil for a wonderful impromptu gathering, to fry to crisp seasoned fries and above all my favorite dinner companion!

Mind you, I use a lot of colorful vegetables in my cooking, but the simple Potato is my go to.

So turns out, my friends were right! I could do more without the potato and throw in different concoctions with alternatives. They suggested a few, I mentally noted them down!

Now, in conclusion: Nope I am NOT changing my friends, however taking their recommendations/ gentle nudges forward... and will begin the journey of "No Potato" (GASP!) for 3 months.
Now don't go calling Child Services on me... I will still cook it for the kiddos, but for me, I will attempt to go potato free (for 3 months!)!!

I made the claim above and the friends rambled off food/ potato stuff I will miss out on!!!
SO yes, I MAY have to re-evaluate my friendships after-all!

Jokes apart: You tell me: Potato or Poh-ta-toh... No more, will I survive it?

Monday, September 10, 2018

New Year Resolutions


I know I know, we are way away from New Years (Well closer that we think), but I digress. I realize now that with school going kids, resolutions should be made at the start of the school year, since that is technically a "New Start" a new school year and time to refresh and reset and learn from mistakes of last school year!

So to lead the pack and begin a revolution of "School New Year Resolution", here are mine with the kindergartner and 5th grader in tow.

Resolution 1: Pack for school the night before
Be it the gym bag which we forget, the homework in the bag, the reading/ library bag, the snack bag etc. Let's pack the school bag the night before and keep it handy. This way as an unpaid errand runner, I am not running back and forth with the "forgotten items", kids are not "stressing (me)" with, oh I forgot and so on and above all mornings are less “drama”

Resolution 2: Ready the school attire the night before
Mind you, I have a kid in uniform and one kid with no uniform. So far this has not been a big deal. But, keep it going so they dress up and come ready with morning routine. With winter coming, this will be helpful having leggings/ sweaters lined up as well. So yes, continue last year’s good behavior
Yep, I am giving the pat on the back where it is deserved!

Resolution 3: Parents: Wake up 30 minute earlier than the kids
(URGH!!! I know) but, it makes sense. I can peel the almonds, get ready for my day in peace and above all may be have a few sips of the coffee while it’s still hot. Considering I have to pack hot lunch for one child, this can get smoother if I actually NOT snooze my alarm! Ideally, I should be up even earlier and squeeze in a work out- haha. I know!! Let’s start simple with just 30 minutes earlier than the little monsters angels.

Resolution 4: Yell less and less of "Hurry Up"
This one will be the TOUGHEST. We are all refreshed after a blissful summer, so mornings (of one whole week of back to school) have been timely and peaceful. I know that's not reality of school year’s gone by! But I am hoping to leverage "Alexa's" alarms and set times to hopefully get us in car bundled and on time without cursing the traffic amongst other things! Tough goal!! So open to suggestions on this one!

Resolution 5: Evening planning
Once the kids home after school, based on schedules- prioritize: Homework, instrument practice, classes, park, down time and dinner! We cant get all done on one day, so prioritize. Kids get over enthusiastic for their classes and as always we get stretched thinner making us squished for time. Aka making me crankier! Hence my older child and I decided to ease into this routine. Touch wood, she is sincere and has said, first homework then rest of things.
This one will continue to be a work in progress. I have put my foot down and agreed on NO SOCIAL commitments on weekdays before 8  pm.

(And No, Netflix is NOT a social commitment)

I get that all of the above are common sense items. But year after year, as time progresses, I tend to forget. Resulting in me getting crankier and then the domino effect on the family.

So yes, five fingers: five resolutions: The gist being: plan, early to bed and early to rise and above all prioritize!!! AND BREATHE! So the girls can do more of this... 


These are our "School New Year Resolutions". 

More importantly do you think I can follow mine? Well don’t answer that! You are supposed to say Yes of course!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Seoul Welcomes you...

Driving into the city, that's what I read: "Seoul Welcomes You", not "Welcome to Seoul" as most cities with. This slight play on words, made me happy, I had a feeling it was going to be a good trip... and gosh, South Korea blew my mind (well and my back)!

Our trip was a sans-kids trip. A quick stop over en route to India! 4 days: A perfect trip!
DAY 1: 

We arrived super early and kick started by a peaceful beginning at Jogyesa temple. What a serene environment and the laughing Buddha did me in!


We enjoyed the palaces of "Gyeongbokgung", took pictures with locals in their attires and then enjoyed a colorful change of guard ceremony.


Walking around aimlessly and enjoying the subtle sights of "Hanok Village" including having a massive ice cream for breakfast!!! This was a highlight for me, it is truly a village admist a bustling city.



It was a crazy hot day and we needed food and more cold water and a complete meal. The 16 course Temple Food at San Chon. It took us 2 hours to finish the meal and boy was I thrilled!! Sumit did really good researching this place and this was a definite MUST DO AGAIN!



Jet lag creeped up and we checked in to our hotel and slept through. In the evening we went to check out the "Night Market" : Myeong-dong. Shopping till wee hours on jet lag just didnt feel right! Of course we did find the Korean Yellow tent shopping area!

We headed over to a Korean Bath House at 1 am.... and that my friend needs a post on its own. A 6 storey building with a traditional and super clean "bath house" experience. We came back to the hotel around 5 am and yep, you guessed it: Slept Again!!!

DAY 2:
We kick started the day with the "Namdaemun Market" and boy I could spend hours more without complaining. The colors, the street sights, the amazing trinkets left me wanting more!

 As always, tummy grumbled and we headed to a Tibetan place called" Potala" a must do. Some Chinese fusion food in, we headed out again to a "forest" in the bustling city center:



Cheonggyecheon: The stream, the breeze and the ability to soak our feet in the middle of the city was bliss.

Some silly pictures later, we headed up in a cable car to " Namsan" tower to enjoy un-interrupted views to the city.


Only when you reach up there do you realize how massive the city it. Some crazy love padlocks and ice cream later, we called it a night.



DAY 3:
This was our pre-booked "DMZ" tour day. The ability to see North Korea a stone's throw away, understand the history, the pain of the locals and see the love and want for unification between these two countries was just a sight! Hiking in the 3rd infiltration tunnel was so much fun and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour.
 



We then headed out to the "Gangnam" area.... i mean come on- Gang-nam style is a must see!
After a jet lagged nap later, we wanted to experience the infamous Seoul life! Party in Hongdae
We waited for cabs at 11 pm ... and eventually got a cab at 2 am... yep, and mind you we were in the most bustling part of the city... all cabs were already full and heading to Hongdae-
This was an experience.. and boy I felt old. 99% of the clubs dont let "Over 30" enter... yep... which meant, they chuckled us and told us "You too old" and we laughed sheepishly. I mean we took 3 hours to get here.. Some pleading and some begging later, only 1 club let us in. And we enjoyed some K-pop, some fun music and lots of college kids around! Nope, i felt right at home!!









And then... I fell.. on the stairs (My excuse: They were wet and slippery). Sumit says, I am too old! Oh well. Our night or early morning got cut short. And then for the next 2 weeks, I was out with a bruise on my entire back.
I could barely walk, I could not stand after sitting and lying down, haha, not possible. So the supportive husband did what he does best- got me a wheel chair and took pictures of the "Old Garima" and I coult not even protest. even raising a hand to hit him, was painful!






So day 4: for me was sitting in the hotel and enjoying un-interrupted movies while Sumit went for some fun trinket shopping for a bit!

So I left Seoul onward to India. With a back blown out, but lots of laughter, smiles and wonderful memories of the friendly people and "feeling old".

Thursday, July 19, 2018

All I did was Chill!!

In the uber ride at some ungoldly awesome hour,on our way back from Manhattan to my friends place in NJ, the driver said" In NY the you can eat the whole world and experience the whole world"


And to think of it... it's true: Name the cuisine, it's there, you walk around in Time Square and within 20 ft of you there will be at least five different countries being represented. I Guarantee you! It truly is the "melting Pot" where you become one with the city and city becomes one with you.




Before my much awaited trip to NY, a friend asked: What's your plan in NY.
And I thought and instantly replied... well, nothing, just chilling.

For the time that we were in NYC and around... that's what we did... Chill.


Met our closest and oldest friends, played with their mini-me's and bonded, as always got inspired by our older relatives in the city, hugged a friend on a recent heart break, hugged a cousin on new love in their lives, laughed with our kid cousin, started where we left off with some friends, reminisced a lot and truly chilled. 

As I wandered hand in hand with Sumit for a bit in the city, I realise, the glitz and the glamor enamour me- EVERY SINGLE TIME. I am back to being the 12 year old when I visited NYC for the first time in my life.. and the charm, the heart of the ciry still continues to enthrall me.
As Sumit says- NY never gets old.... I somehow feel that's true.


To a trip, filled with chilling, to a city that never really truly sleeps, to re-energising, to re-connecting, to re-becoming young again. NY for me will always be.. a Charming City