Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Not doing it all

A comment on a previous post, and ruminations on a Boston Globe article on the choices women make got me thinking about ambitions and effort, priorities and circumstances, and the idea of having the time for multiple acts in one's life. There was a time when I felt it was critical to live life like there was no tomorrow, but I now find myself at a point where it's just irresponsible to live that way. I have to think of there being many days and many acts ahead for the family and me. Being responsible in the choices I make (exercising, dedicating saturdays to taking the kids to Balvihar, teaching them about infinity and math early, lowering stress at work, etc.) feel more critical than ever before....

"A side of broccoli with my breakfast"

S was brushing my son K's teeth in the kids' bathroom and I heard snatches of their conversation. "Tomorrow, I'd like to have broccoli on the side for breakfast", says K.

Sure, I've verged on monomaniacal in my insistence on the kids having vegetables at pretty much every lunch and dinner, and broccoli has been standard fare in my kitchen. But this took it to a totally different level -- I'm impressed. K has tended to consistently choose broccoli on the side when we go out for a meal. No whining, just a happy child digging into the florets. D doesn't complain, but the enthusiasm K brings to the broccoli is astonishing.

As they went in for story time, I hear K tell us, "And now, tell me a story of someone who ate vegetables and did exercise." Given that the D, K and I sat down and ate a bag of spinach ( tossed with chopped mandarin slices, sesame tofu and Caesar dressing) for lunch today, I feel I can safely say these are not veggie-phobic kids!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Swearing off packaged masalas

I've had friends and relatives who seem to be able to whip up fantastic dishes with the help of the magicians at different ready made spice mix purveyors (Eastern Brand, Pataks and MTR, to name a few). Well, I'm swearing off that formula. In the past month, I tried a Fish curry masala, a curry sauce straight from the bottle and a Bombay biriyani mix. I was religious in measuring out all the ingredients, sticking to the recipe, and all that jazz. All I can say is that none of them lived up my mom's good old "crunch the fresh spices in a pestle, yaar" approach. So, it's goodbye, masalas-out-of-a- pouch, welcome back little wood mortar-and-pestle.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Birthday planning

So, a little early in the day, I decided to do what I've marvelled at other moms for doing. This year, I'm going to be cooking up all the food for the birthday. Here's what the menu looks like right now:

1. Home made cake (yes!!)
2. A large pasta dish with white sauce and signature vegetables added!
3. Baked Mac and Cheese (will need to get the recipe from friend Sanjana, who was featured in my Superbowl blog post)
4. Meatballs or Indian-style cutlets
5. Veggie platter (with blue cheese dipping sauce)
6. Fruit platter (with chocolate dipping sauce)
7. Rotis (confession -- these will probably come pre-cooked out of a packet!)
8. Chicken curry
9. Garbanzos (Channa curry) or paneer curry
10. Maybe S's Malabar Shrimp
...and I guess we'll need to play it safe and order in some pizzas as well.

What do you think? Over the top? I got a couple of suggestions for tofu-related dishes, but I'm not convinced

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It's the jeans, ouch, I mean genes

Asks sister D "This is where we throw up our hands and blame it all on the genes???!!" when she read this BBC online article.

Meanwhile, saw a clip this morning on the today show (look for the "how to help your body image" video) that talked about how hanging on to your old skinny jeans can be bad for your body image (sets up unrealistic expectations, negative internal dialogues, etc.) I've been pretty good about throwing the really old ones out (like the one I went spent most of my undergrad years in), but it was fun being able to get back into my pre-baby jeans the other day. Hurray for swimming and elliptical trainers!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Birthday foods

Am starting to think through birthday menus, and wondered what people out there have tried and enjoyed. Do me a favor, and if you have ideas, click on comments and tell me more!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tortelloni and eggplant

I've tended to ignore the recipe suggestions on ingredient bags before, but the Barilla eggplant suggestion worked out really well. I didn't have cherry tomatoes, but diced tomatoes worked just as well. I also tossed in some cheese and a touch of onions.
One 18 oz. bag tortelloni (I used the ricotta and spinach tortelloni)
Three tablespoons olive oil
One clove garlic diced
One cup chopped eggplants
One medium tomato diced
Two tablespoons chopped basil leaves
Half a teaspoon salt
Quarter cup grated cheese
Quarter onion diced
Quarter cup water
  • Cook tortelloni, which usually takes around 10 to 12 minutes. Drain
  • Heat the olive oil and fry the garlic which starts up a lovely aroma around the house
  • Saute the eggplant in the flavored olive oil, taking care to stir often. Let the eggplant start to turn transclucent
  • Add the tomatoes and basil, water and salt
  • Let the mix simmer so that the some of the eggplant gets squishy
  • Take the mix off the heat, and add to the cooked tortelloni, and sprinkle in the onion for a spicy kick (for the grown-ups -- the kids got it onion-free)
  • Top it all off with the cheese or basil