"Koi humse jeet na paave Chale chalo, chale chalo"

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Koi raah mein na thaam jaawe, chale chalo
Toot gayi jo ungli utthi
Paanchon mili to ban gaye mutthi
Eka badhta hi jaawe
Chale chalo, chale chalo
Koi kitna bhi bahekaave, chale chalo
Koi humse jeet na paave
Chale chalo, chale chalo
Mit jaave jo takraave, chale chalo

Hello all….I know I’ve been missing in action….but I’ve been sick. Yep that’s right Bhatji is all better but poor me….I’m down with a bad cold and a slight fever. The only reason I’m here blogging today is to enter my blog entry for Pooja’s Theme of the week -Orange ,White and Green.

My entry is a very simple Okra bhaji, rice and spicy rasam. I will share the recipe in a later entry. Happy Indian republic day :o)

“I'm in this boat alone, floating down a river named emotion”

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Will I make it back to shore
Or drift into the unknown

I'm floating down a river
Oars freed from their holds long ago
Lying face up on the floor of my vessel
I marvel at the stars
And feel my heart overflow
Further down the river
Further down the river
Further down the river
Further down the river
Two weeks without my lover

I’m going to start off this blog with a brrrrrr! The temperature is below freezing and I want winter to end already. As I mentioned Bhatji has been very sick and I have been playing “mommy” to him. As much as I enjoy taking care of people….it can get a little overwhelming; let’s just that I have a new found respect for nurses. On a positive note I am very happy that it is a long weekend and am looking forward to the 2 weeks in NJ. I am also happy that we were around my parents this weekend who basically did a lot of the running around and preparing Kichadi and Nimbu Sharbat for Bhatji. He is definitely doing better than earlier in the weekend but not a complete 100% yet. He has been sleeping in and trying to get his fever down. As long as he rests, eats some home made food and continues his medications and home made remedies…I think he will be up and about in no time
This weekend I thought about my bapama (my dads mom who passed away when I was 13) who didnt beleive in modern day medication of any kind and depended solely on herbal medication. She was well known for a garden full of herbal plants and her Ayurvedic knowledge. Be it a common cold or arthritis pain….she had a plant and a remedy for it all. These home made remedies didn’t always sound, smell or taste appetizing but they worked quite well. She was a strong believer in natural healing and there are times like today that I wished I had taken interest in her teachings and picked up all her remedies. But I was too young and impatient when she was around. I think it’s hard to grow an impressive garden such as my grandmothers here in the US. The winters are too cold for some of the tropical plants and I think we also lack in time and energy to tend a garden. Back in India we had hired a mali (gardener) who would take care of the garden 3-4 times a week. But it was my grandmother’s love that really made our garden a medical treasure. Well I can’t entirely say that I didn’t learn anything. I learned that ginger was a life providing root. It relives pains and if added to a hot drink is soothing for a congested chest…which makes it perfect for colds. Garlic is another spice that provides cures for heart problems, diabetes and if cooked and added to rice makes for a fever reducer. There were many other home remedies that I can recall and I think I will write about each of them in a journal soon. But I see that as our days and lives get busy, all these remedies take a back seat to pills and antibiotics because they are easily obtainable and are also quickly effective. However their effect is short term with certain side effects and we are too short sighted to see this as an issue. I am trying to get better at eating and drinking healthier rather than popping a Tylenol for each and every pain. So when Bhatji fell sick…it was easy for me to pump him with different kinds of pills…my ma however, has been trying home remedies. We boiled hot water and added eucalyptus oil in it and had him steam his face so that his nasal passages would open up. We’ve made him hot tea with ginger and pepper to ease his sore throat and decongest his chest. Another dish that we have prepared for him is my moms simple Kichadi (boiled lentils, rice and lots of pepper) because it easy for digestion and pepper helps with decongestion. In addition we made him a big batch of my moms Nimbu Sharbat (lemon drink) with lots of ginger to ease his congestion, the elaichi clears his nasal passages and the lemon boosts his immune system with vitamin c. I think that these remedies do work….slowly….but I can definitely see a difference in Bhatji. This brings me to the foodie part of the blog. My mom’s nimbu sharbat is just toooo tempting not to blog about. You know how certain drinks or foods remind of you being sick…well ma’s nimbu sharbat is one of those drinks that you crave all the time…no matter the weather or your well being. So I am sharing this recipe for my ma’s limbiya/nimbu sharbat:

Juice of 1 large lemon or lime (or 2 small lemon and lime)
1 ½ inch piece of ginger
5-6 tsp of sugar (more or less to your taste)
2 tsp of salt (more or less to your taste)
2 pieces of cardamom (elaichi)
2 cups of water
3-4 cubes of ice

To Make:
Juice the lemon/lime into a glass, fish out the seeds and set aside. Add the ginger and cardamom in a food processor/mixie and grind well. Add the cubes, lime juice, water, salt and sugar and grind further until all of the ingredients are blended well. Keep in mind that there will be ginger pieces visible. You will need to sieve this mixture once more to separate the ginger and cardamom pieces and serve.

Bhatji has been putting away about 3 glasses a day so far. Once I get back to NJ…I will probably make a large jar of nimbu sharbat so that he will get his daily vitamin c intake until he is fully recovered. I am looking forward to going back to my kitchen and whipping up some new recipes that I learned from my mom. She also gifted me her very first cook book and I am very excited about trying a few dishes out from that as well. Alright that’s it for this blog entry…I have a sick hubby to feed. Until the next blog entry…stay warm and healthy!!

PS (Photography by Swati Shenoy. I love my super talented lil sis :o)

“If you are chilly, here take my sweater. Your head is aching, I'll make it better”

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cuz I love the way you call me baby.
And you take me the way I am.
I'd buy you Rogaine if you start losing all your hair.
Sew on patches to all you tear.
Cuz I love you more than I could ever promise.
And you take me the way I am.

DC is experiencing the first snowfall of the season and I gotta admit…I LOVE IT!! I mean I’m not really a fan of the cold winds and winter blues but there’s something quite delightful about snow. Snow brings me thoughts of hot chocolate, laughing over a small pot of fire and smores at Cosi, snow fights when we found out that there would be no school and old Hindi or English movies with loved ones. I wish I was with Bhatji in NJ sharing a blanket on and taking our nth nap together. Speaking of Bhatji…he has been extremely sick and actually decided to take off work. This is another reason I wish was with him so I could take care of him. I cant wait till tomorrow when we can be together again…5 days is long enough ;o) Ok enough of my sappy chatter.
Bhatji loves Mexican food….I think it’s got a lot to do with his days in Houston. TX does have amazing Mexican restaurants; come on this is the land that came up with the phrase “Tex Mex”. In fact I think that you could probably go to a Chinese restaurant and manage to order at least one Mexican dish hehe. So preparing a “really delicious” Mexican meal for me has always been a daunting task. I mean who wants to please a Tex Mex tasting expert. Unfortunately even though I would express my nervousness of making Mexican food for him but Bhatji would still request quesadillas, enchiladas etc. So I started slow with simple quesadillas that he would wolf down and shower me with compliments. Well this gave me the motivation to try other Mexican treats. While I was on my cooking binge last week…I came up with a yummy recipe for veggie enchiladas. It took a while to make but it was worth it to see the face on a satisfied Tex Mex fan ;o) so here is the recipe for” Vegetarian Enchiladas with green sauce.

8-10 wheat tortillas
1 cup low fat ricotta cheese
¼ cup sour cream (or as per your taste)
Store bought Salsa
One can of refried beans
One can of green enchilada sauce (divided)
1 cup of shredded 4 cheese Mexican cheese
1/2 cup of red onions diced
½ cup of bell peppers diced
1 tbl spn of olive oil
1 tbl spn of cumin powder (divided)
1 tsp of chili powder
A few jalapenos (optional)
Salt to taste

To Make:
Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. Heat the oil and cook the onions and bell peppers until browned. Add 1 tsp of cumin powder, mix well and take off heat. In a large bowl add the following: Ricotta cheese, ½ cup of salsa, the remaining cumin powder, red chili powder, ¼ can of enchilada sauce and mix well until it is all integrated well with each other. On a large baking pan covered with foil, lay each tortilla out and in the middle start the stuffing process. First take a large spoon of refried beans and spread thoroughly on the tortilla. Then add little of the onion and bell pepper mixture and spread well. In the center of the tortilla add the ricotta/salsa mixture in a straight line. Add a dollop of sour cream and a few jalapenos on top of the ricotta mixture. Roll the sides of the tortilla into the center and repeat with other tortillas and line them on the baking pan. After you have filled the pan with 8-10 stuffed tortillas, pour the enchilada sauce evenly on top of the tortillas and add the shredded cheese roughly as much as you like on top as well. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins until the cheese melted and the stuffing is warm. Serve hot.

I can’t say that this was as good as an authentic as a Tex Mex restaurant but it was very tasty and healthy since a lot of the ingredients were low fat. Give it a try! Until the next the scrumptious entry…..enjoy the snow with a bit of fiesta on the side ;o)

PS (I heart Ingrid Michaelson's song....All warm and fuzzy sounding ;o)

"Jyoth se Jyoth Jagaa. Pyaar se pyaar badaa"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Loose translation of the words, Jyoth and Pyaar which represents any of the following and more:
Light up the Love
Light up with Knowledge and
Use Love to grow Love
Use Love to grow peace

Wishing my fellow desis a prosperous and fruitful Makara Sankranti. Sankranti is a festival celebrating the upcoming harvest year. People in India during the olden days would mark this day with a prayer for healthy and abundant harvest. Today it is considered an auspicious day to start over with a new life style and give thanks to all that the earth has provided us. Different states in India have various names for this festival but it is observed for the same reason.
One of my fondest memories of growing up in India is the way we celebrated each festival in a distinct way. During Makara Sankranti, schools and offices would be closed and most streets would be hustling and bustling with people visiting each other with goodies. My mom would wake up very early in the morning and wash her hair. You would think that because it was a holiday Mzswats and I would sleep in….but most festivals meant that we would actually be up and out running errands with mom. Sankranti was one of those holidays that I wouldn’t mind getting up for…because this was the day that I had a lot of fun things to do. My mom swats and I would circle the Tulsi plant asking for the long life of our family, good health, knowledge and peace. Following this my mom, swats and our maid would start on the rangoli in front of our house. I of course wasn’t really artistic and did my best to stay out of the way and be a good spectator.

Picture from google images
Then my mom would scamper around the kitchen preparing yummy traditional festive Konkani food: Mantapa saaru, Channa gashi, bibba upkari, Daalitoy, Alsanda upkari, Batata Vaagu, Pulihaar, Paayasu, etc. As long as the dish did not contain meat, onions and garlic…it was servable on this day.

Picture from: http://www.sailusfood.com/2007/04/09/pesara-pappu-payasam-moong-dal-payasam/
My bapama would decorate our Gods room and the idols with new jewelry etc...preparing for an evening puja. Mid afternoon my mom would make til god or tila laddu (sesame seeds laddu) and sakre bombe (sugar dolls or sugared sweets). Swats and I would dress up in our new Indian outfits and then visit out neighbors and friends with a box or plate full of these sweets. We would exchange them and get more sweets and then get back home in time for the puja. Following the puja we would have more yummy Konkani food and eat til gol and chant: Til god ghyaa ani god god bhola <- Eat sweet and speak sweet :o)
So please eat something sweet, say something sweet, think of this day as a day where you strive to be a better person and thank this earth for all that it has provided so far.
Happy Sankranti to all!

“I got to shine…now throw your hands up in the sky”

Friday, January 11, 2008

Welcome to the good life
Fifty told me
Go head and switch them styles up
And if they hate then let them hate
And watch the money pile up

A very, very belated Happy New Year to you and yours. I know I’ve been MIA and I won’t make any excuses for not writing thus far. Post holidays and working from home has left me…apathetic to everything except sitting on my couch watching a marathon of HGTV, Food network shows and spending loads of time trying new dishes out in the kitchen. And I guess the writers strike has motivated me to have one of my own ;o) or maybe I’m just lazy….but personally I like the latter thought.
We never grew up celebrating Christmas or exchanging presents but this year Bhatji and I felt that this would make a good year to give something back to the family. So here is a quick recap of our Christmas gifts: I bought a Garmin for Bhatji, a Zune for my baby sis and a Macy’s gift card for my mommy and a trip that Bhatji and I are in the process of planning for my dad. This year I also received some really nice surprises from Bhatjis friends: I got a new Saki tasting set, a coach wallet (woot woot! Those boys spoil me :o) and I had asked for a donation in my name to AARDA to which my secret Santa generously obliged. Bhatji and I decided to spend New year’s eve at one of his friend’s places in NJ. A group of us watched the ball drop on TV and celebrated with lots of alcohol and a riveting game of charades – Men vs. Women (the women won!!)
I usually don’t do resolutions….because as my past has shown, I never stick by them. So this year I decided to make a resolution that I would actually enjoy retaining: To make new friends, maintain my older friendships and to keep in touch with my family more. I plan on emailing and calling people more and invite more people to join in my life and hobbies. Another small resolution I have thought up for myself is to: indulge in activities that keeps me happy like cooking and dance. Dance has always been my ultimate creative outlet….but more than that, it has also been a medium that bring about a sense of equilibrium in my life. I think every one needs that outlet or a way of feeling at peace…..Ms.Chai meditates, my mother in law chants and goes on walks, my sister draws or paints, my aunt is a part of a knitting club and my mom cooks. I take inspiration from all these women…props for doing whatever it is that makes you joyful and at peace.
Now on to the recipe part of this blog: Weekends are really precious to us….especially because Bhatji and I love sleeping in and then waking up to eat brunch. We don’t always go out to brunch so I am always up for the challenge of coming up with new and interesting brunch dishes. After rummaging through some cook books that my mom gave me, I found this simple recipe for a breakfast tostada with waffles. It turned out to be extremely delicious. So here is the recipe for brunch tostada with waffles (yep I changed the name)
Adapted from The costco cook book

4 eggo waffles
3 eggs
4 slices of turkey bacon
2 medium tomatoes diced
½ cup of cheese any kind (I used shredder cheddar cheese)
2-3 tbl spns of salsa
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

To Make:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the waffles as you normally would. Cook the bacon slices in a frying pan until crispy and then crumble into small pieces. Make the scrambled eggs and add salt and pepper to taste. Top each waffle with 2 spoons of scrambled egg, a spoon full of bacon pieces, a spoon of diced tomatoes, cheese as much as you like. Bake in the oven till the cheese is melted – for about 8-10 minutes. Now add a small spoon of salsa on top and serve hot. This recipe serves 2 but you can add more waffles and eggs to serve more.

It’s a simple and tasty way to start your mornings…err…afternoon off. Well until the next entry…. Compose resolutions that make YOU happy.

Life with Extra Mirchi - by Templates para novo blogger