Sunday, February 24, 2008

I'm back!

Sorry for not writing in a while. I have two excuses: I was busy at work, which translated into longer working hours, so no time to post here and once the work pressure relaxed a bit, I got lazy in transferring the pics from my camera to the laptop, hence the delay. So, there's a lot to write about and lots of pics to share. You're going to be a here for a while now, so go grab a cup of chai and read on...

My new passion

I recently got this book that I absolutely love going through, at every chance that I get. Its a treasure trove of useful information on the 150 amazing, healthiest, nutrient dense, disease fighting and ailment preventing foods on earth.

I was recently listening to a radio show during my long commute to work, where this doctor/professor of medicine from Stanford (sorry, I forgot his name) was talking about how as a population, the average age and life span of humans has increased over the years. Right now, there are around 55,000 individuals in the US who are over the age of 100. He mentioned that so many people, when they get older (in their eighties) remark that if they had known they would live this long, they would've taken better care of their health when they were younger. I agree with him one hundred percent!

Also, being a chemist and working in the pharmaceutical industry now, I do know that there are countless nutrients, mineral, phytochemicals and other species that are needed for the proper functioning of the body, not all of which can be synthesized by the body and need to be present in the food that we eat. I have decided to make a conscious effort to include such fresh, nutrient dense fruits, vegetable, herbs, grains and nuts in our meals.

Coming back to the book, I will be sharing some pictures, information and excerpts with you on this blog and also chronicle some of the goodies that I include in our regular meals. You can get this book for yourself if you follow this link. Believe me, it's worth every penny of the $20 that you will spend.

Arnav's letters

Arnav and I were doing some alphabet tracing and he told me that he wanted to write something for his Dadu and for his Nani. He was so excited to be doing that, that he ran inside to bring the sheets of paper, picked out the colors after much deliberation and proceeded to trace the dotted lines with love and care.

So here it is, for Dadu and Nani, with love from Arnav.

A simple pulav with a power packed salad...

Last week was a very busy week at work, with a number of deadlines for me and that meant going earlier than usual and coming back very tired, after standing in the lab the whole day. ON one such rainy, tiring evening, I made a simple pulav which turned out to be so delicious that V asked me to write the recipe down, so that I can reproduce it on demand the next time he wants pulav!

I served it with a nutrient packed salad of carrots, beetroots and raisins, with onions and lemon juice adding a bit of a kick. In my quest to eat healthy and making every bite count, I have decided to consciously experiment with various "super foods" that are wholesome, fresh, full of nutrients and ofcourse, rich taste. With this in mind, I picked up some beetroots and grated them over chopped baby carrots for this yummy salad.

Ofcourse, as I was staging this shot, Arnav was sitting in his highchair in the kitchen and sneaked in the popsickle that he was enjoying into my frame! He was mighty pleased on seeing his popsickle rubbing shoulders with my rice n salad!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

The first time I heard of "Valentines's day" was probably when I was in 9th or 10th grade in India. My 3 yr old son already knows when Valentine's day is and knows that it is a day for "love"!!
In his preschool, they have weekly themes like nature, firefighters, weather, family etc and they do all activities associated with that theme in that week. The week of valentines, the theme was, ofcourse, love, so they colored hearts, cut out and traced heart shapes, read books on family and love and so on... On V day, they had a lunch party-I made a big casserole of macaroni and cheese for the class and the other things on the menu were chicken nuggets, fried rice, garlic bread, fruit platter, veggies and dip, cookies, cupcakes...

That morning, V and I packed lil goodie bags, with candies, stickers and small cards for all his classmates and I wrote "Happy V Day" on 25 cards!! In the evening, Arnav came back with his own stash of cards, candy and stickers from his friends!

Monday, February 11, 2008

All Pickled Out...

I love Gajar-Gobhi-Shalgam pickle. Everytime winter rolls around, this is what I crave and this is one pickle that is very hard to find bottled because of its short shelf life, I guess. A couple of weeks back, I went to my local Indian grocery store and saw a small plastic container of this pickle. Immediately, it went in my cart. I couldnt wait till dinner that night to try it out. But sadly, I was let down because the pickle had too much sugar and too much of black pepper.

So, I had no other alternative but to make it myself! So I asked my Mammaji for a recipe and I got a nicely written, detailed recipe within 2 hours. I got all the ingredients and I wanted to do this right, so this last weekend, I lovingly washed and sundried my brand new glass container.....

......I chopped up the carrots, turnips and cauliflower, washed in hot, hot water and dried it in the sun.........

..........and proceeded to make the pickle. It has been basking in the sun for two days now. It occupies a place of honor in the backyard in the morning and then, I religiously move it to the front porch in the afternoon where it gets drenched in the afternoon rays of the sun. I am going to taste it tomorrow night, so you'll have to wait for the final verdict!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Carrot Kheer

I tried making the carrot kheer this evening. It turned out very tasty and ofcourse, so nutritious! I did this on a small scale, with just a handful of baby carrots that I gave a whirr in the food processor, steamed in the microwave for about 5 mins and then boiled in milk till it got smooth and mushy. Added some sugar and garnished with chopped nuts. Next time I make it, I'll try adding some condensed milk to give it a little more texture.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Simple Stir Fry

I made this simple stir fry last night that both V and I enjoyed a lot. This is my friend S's recipe, to which I made some modifications.

The vegetables- onions, baby carrots, green and red bell peppers and green beans are sauted very lightly in olive oil so as to preserve their crunchiness and most of the nutrients, seasoned with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a dash of fat free Italian dressing and garnished with red chili flakes. A quick dash of soy sauce can also be added to give it some more zing. Yummy!

Bread Pakore

Saturday Morning Breakfast

I made Masaledar Paneer and Methi ki Poori for breakfast this saturday morning. Today is the 12th consecutive day of rain here in (usually) sunny California and such weather calls for some piping hot pooris and garma garam chai!

Methi ki poori is a great way of sneaking some healthy greens into fussy toddlers and I also put cottage cheese and tofu while making the aata to increase its protein content. This meal when served with yogurt has something from each food group and its yummy too!

Friday Night Date....

Every friday evening, after I pick Arnav up from school, we head straight to the nearest Jamba Juice, where Arnav has a "Mango Mantra" smoothie and chips. He loves to sit there and look at people pass by and he tells me all about his day at school and we make plans for the weekend. This friday, I had a meeting at work that ran late, so his Papa picked him up and brought him home. I was really disappointed that we couldn't go to Jamba juice, so I picked up his smoothie on my way home. Arnav was very happy and I got extra hugs and kisses for bringing his smoothie! Arnav's school had a chinese theme this whole week and they made a chinese style hat in class. Here's a pic of Arnav in his "Mr. Chow-Fu-Ching" hat, enjoying his Jamba Juice!