Archive for the ‘Healthy Living and Yoga’ Category

The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is that good people do nothing – you must be the change that you want to see in the world

For me to quote Gandhi is an irony – I respected him but was never a pacifist, I abhorred any form of injustice and could never keep my big mouth shut…be it slapping someone  double my size who was eve-teasing a timid classmate on the bus to refusing to bribe a police man who had wrongfully confiscated our kinetic honda….there are “n” number of incidents in my life where my choices decided my place in life and it is a place I am happy in…of course there are moments where I have the “what if” questions in my head but I am happy with the majority of the choices I have made in my life…I am ok with not grazing with the herd…and standing out, if  I believe I am walking the right path…

A realization I had late in life in my 8th week of pregnancy was that my baby was what I eat…so I started my treks to the sunday farmer’s market…slowly as my pregnancy progressed I made new friends in the market, people I knew by name – who sold me the freshest eggs, the sweetest strawberries, the strangest looking sunchokes, sumptuous pies, locally sourced honey, and many other things…I learnt that Zucchini flowers could replace pumpkin flowers in the fritters I made that reminded me of home…for the past 6 years I have been mind fully moving a lot of our eating habits to organic foods…watching Aamir Khan’s “Satyameva Jayate” made me feel good about my decision. To A my brother who tells me I have a tendency to over-correct…whatdya say now? This week has been mind-opening  food wise with a constant deluge of movies like : Food Fight, Ingredients and Toast

Why do we revisit our life as we know it at least twice ( for sure) in our lives :

  1. On New Year’s Eve
  2. On our Birthday’s

The years are galloping by – don’t know when I left the teenage and hit adulthood and have been officially middle-aged for a while now…any regrets, of course a number but my perspective now is to look at the glass half full vs. half empty. Does that mean I have become Ms. Sunshine & Sweetness….not really — I still terrorize K2 to write a journal, take a nap, eat healthy stuff….and nag K1 to take the garbage out, listen to me (yeah like that’s happening),  cut the veggies etc….but I do believe this year I learnt to prioritize what matters most and I think what matters most is My Family — I love them and I know that they define me and my existence. I have prioritized happiness – I know life is not always fair and maybe I don’t get what I want or deserve, yet when I take a step back and get a handle on where my life is, I feel grateful…I feel blessed and I choose happiness. I have prioritized inner peace – I choose to kick out that ANT  that was trying to make a place in my mind…making me question the purpose of living, futility of existence etc. etc…I have prioritized health be it my weekly treks to the Farmer’s Market, my foodie adventures in my local market, cooking grains with weird names ( quinoa, farro, amaranth…) or my energizing Zumba classes, relaxing Yoga classes and nature walks with the 2 K’s…

Breakfast yesterday was a blast from the past…something Ma used to make time and again for  me and I am keeping the cycle going –  the little guy loves all things eggs. I am sure y’all have your own version of good old scrambled eggs and toast.

For akoori (parsi scrambled eggs) and Toast

  • 2 Organic Jumbo Brown Eggs ( Olivera Egg Ranch)
  •  4 Egg Whites
  • 2 Thai Chili Peppers (Teng Lee Farm) – finely chopped
  • 1 vine ripened Tomato (Rensendiz Farm) – finely chopped
  • 1 Purple Spring Onion (large) (Rodriguez Farm) – finely chopped
  • Fresh Cilantro (Rodriguez Farm) – finely chopped
  • EVOO
  • Organic Turmeric Powder, Roasted Cumin Powder
  • Beckmann’s Oat Bran Bread

Add 1 tbspoon of EVOO to wok. When the oil heats — add the turmeric and cumin powder – it hisses and sizzles. Then add the chopped onions and the chillies (no chillies for K2). Once it has browned ( go with your gut, its all about the smell and the look). add in chopped tomatoes and cook. While the tomatoes are cooking I break the eggs in a bowl and lightly whisk with some salt ( I used some pink australian sea salt that I had, that I needed to use). Add the eggs to the mixture. Stir till the eggs reach the consistency you like ( I like it really well-done, not soft and runny). Add some organic TJ’s Ketchup (maybe a spoonful, don’t ask me why, I just like it this way).  Sprinkle the cilantro on top.

In parallel make your toast -I usually enjoy my toast with my akoori…one bite of toast and one bite of the egg — some kind of heaven that is. K2 likes his toast with Nutella or Chocolate Peanut Butter and K1 with regular peanut butter 🙂

For me the meal takes me back to childhood but I am conscious that every bite of this meal is locally sourced/pesticide free/organic . This is one of the fool-proof meals that K2 will eat without a single complaint. I usually pair it with a bowl of cut peaches or strawberries to make it a breakfast-dinner kind of a meal for him (when I am unusually tired or usually lazy 🙂 ). Sending this over a topic close to my heart : Let’s Cook: Kids Specia being hosted by Tickling Palates

How do I plan to spend my birthday – work, hug my son, work some more, talk to Bapa, work some more, hug K1, work some more….have a really lovely meal ( I am really craving Ethiopian….why is it that the Peninsula has no good Ethiopian?)…So Another year goes by and life goes on too…


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It is so easy to lose one’s “Yin” in the constant struggle to meet deadlines, work schedules, travel schedules and personal to-do lists…girl stuff like buying clothes, girl’s nights out, make up, movies, gym, grown up dinners and spa days ain’t happening…it is a vicious cycle and once it starts, it is easy to make excuses and let things go…you know you have really let things go when  you suddenly notice that your clothes are two sizes too big (yep! for a change losing it not packing it on)…in theory seems like a good thing but in practice…ain’t a good place to be in…so there was a point when I told myself enough already and set myself two ground rules (a) have fun (b) explore “me” time.I have really stretched and grown in this area  in the past three months – No Judgement, Only Action…
Zumba is something new and strange for me – I keep rejecting it and then approaching it tentatively again (all in a period of half a year)…it has helped me loosen up…learning to have fun with music and movements.Pink has become the new black in my wardrobe – shopping more consciously for clothes that are an opposite of what I normally pick…mixing things up. And most importantly, I have gone back to the roots with my cooking and food– it is comfort (with a healthy twist). My “new” bread maker bakes me breads….filling the house with the yeasty warm smells you associate with a bakery…I get feedback from K2 on the taste of the bread ( the important part) and from K1 on the shape and the thickness of the bread (not so important part). I just baked this fresh loaf  with 100% Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat (Arrowhead Mills), Mango Lassi (don’t ask me — creativity sometimes flows), Honey, 2 Handfuls of Raisins and one handful of walnuts

 K1 and I make breakfast together on weekends : Waffles and Pancakes with whole grain mixes, organic eggs cooked whichever way seems right for that day…here is a peek at K2’s breakfast last weekend – a homemade waffle sandwich filled with sliced bananas and smothered in Nutella  and an omelet

I treat myself every night to a decadent tasting dessert ( the famous “me” time) : Oikos 0% Non-Fat Greek Yogurt with a tablespoon of local honey…and maybe the Yin Side will not be sidelined or stay in the dark any more…
This week has been a blur of activity – birthday parties, shopping, followed by a quick trip to the city to pick up passport…car servicing…K2 is loving the transition from nanny to extended day care…he is at the stage where he is happier with other kids…an articulate story teller and a superb artist ( I don’t think  I can draw an elephant and he drew an awesome one… hmm I wonder where he gets that from?).

I had an interesting Yoga Class today…we were expected to keep our eyes closed for the entire class….I succeeded maybe about 20% of the time..it was uncomfortable, it  made me go inwards, embrace the dark and find balance within the chaos…
Here is a sweet sweet song from the 1960’s with a totally different notion of  Yin…so quaint and yet so sweet and refreshing…

So, do you have your holiday plans yet…mine involves travel, work and some vacation…I look forward to some quiet times with loved ones, some great food and a time to create memories and welcome the New Year.

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As I was going through the warrior poses in the cold, semi-dark studio two days back my eyes were drawn to a sentence written on the wall – “Change begins with self-reflection“…I have been mindlessly driving myself to zumba, aerobics and cardio classes. This has been mainly because I feel like I have let myself fall into a rut (stuck to Yoga for 9 years and not much else).The reality is that it just felt like I was not there 100% in these new classes…the muscle pain was constant…and yet like a mindless zombie, day in and day out I kept going in for yet another hour of the torture which never did deliver…on Tuesday I gave in and went back to a vinyasa yoga class (after about a month)…it felt good…it felt like I had finally arrived…and I don’t really feel so bad about letting go of  some of these gym routines, which  are oh! so! cool and in with the trends yet for me they just don’t cut it…George Straits song plays so true here :

We tried to work it out a hundred times,
Ninety nine it didn’t work,
I think it is best that we put it all behind,
Before we wind up getting hurt,
No hard feelings darling, no regrets,
No tears and no broken hearts
Calling it quits, calling off all bets
It just wasn’t in the cards”
Easy Come Girl, Easy Go…

My body is still complaining through the planks and my mind refuses the thought of letting my body go upside down…yet every time I sit quietly in the Lotus and reflect on “nothing”…I am glad that Yoga is with me for the long haul. I think Change is great but if we find something that makes us happy…we should hold on to it.

Today seems to be the day of self-reflection and confessions…another semi-dark side of my persona…I absolutely love walking mindlessly down the aisles of Trader Joes and Whole Foods — checking out all the new things and buying strange stuff that I am clueless what to do with (yet)…like the bag of  Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour, Barley Malt, Mango Butter, Amaranth…I am sure I will figure it out.  How has the end of fall been treating you…mother nature in our neck of the woods hasn’t yet figured out whether to keep it warm or cold…today was a wonderful sunny day and I just couldn’t resist taking this picture…

I hope you have fun weekend plans…my weekend is jampacked with birthdays, baby showers and a 10 pound pumpkin (more on that later :))..

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Are you a harried mother who has to plan balanced, nutritious snacks for your toddler every morning? I know I am — and yes, forgive me for I have sinned…I don’t prepare a snack from scratch – instead I look to the grocery aisle and Amazon for support and inspiration when it comes to packing my son’s snack.

Here are some of my snack options :

Dairy : Babybell Cheese, Organic Valley/365 String Cheese, Gogurt
Beverage :  Water in a stainless steel water bottle, SO Coconut Milk,  Juicy Juice ( the small 4 oz cartons),Low Fat Chocolate Milk
Produce : Apples (Baby Apples or lunch box sized apples), Carrots (rarely – I usually need to monitor the intake), Organic Grapes, Organic Strawberries
Snacks : Revolution Foods Mash-Ups, Revolution Foods Sammy Jammies, Kashi TLC Bars, Cliff Kids Bars, Cliff Kids Fruit Strips, Ritz Handi Snacks, Terra Chips, Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars, Nilla Wafers (Reduced Fat – My son’s absolute favorite from pre-school), Pirates Booty, Fig Newton – Apple Crisps, snack bags of nuts – almonds and walnuts.
Prepared Meals : Half a Sandwich with Maranatha Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter
Hope this gives you some snack ideas for school…
For the past few weeks I have been making healthy smoothies every morning with a flat of organic berries that I picked up from the Farmer’s Market – I keep it a little different every morning…here’s how I made the smoothie today and I call it the Berry Surprise Smoothie. The surprise being the black grapes and plums which add another layer of  flavor and the enriched soymilk which makes it  silky and luscious…Enjoy !!!
  • 4 oz of Strawberries ( 6-7 big ones)
  • 2 Oz of Black Seedless Grapes (about 6)
  • 1 Black Plum
  • 3 Oz of Wildwood Probiotic Soy Milk
Blend in Magic Bullet. Add Honey or Agave Nectar if you want it sweeter. I enjoyed it without any added sugar. This recipe goes out to Smitha @ Smitha’s Spicy Flavors who is hosting the event  Healing Foods : Berries, a series  which was concepted by Siri.
Have you been taking care of yourself lately?
ps: my pictures are usually taken with the camera on my phone…so if it is blurry, my apologies.

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IMs are chatty…informational, work-oriented…for me never a medium that leaves me with something  profound to think about…yet yesterday B told me via IM – You are dealt the cards you are dealt and you learn to play…Something to think about right. So I refused to be that Joe…some guy in the cartoons from the 1940s with a perpetual cloud over his head.

I grabbed K2 and we did his homework – yes we added a little bling (not called for but oh! so enjoyed) with glitter glue and we had so much fun doing it — it is something called a friendship quilt (who would have thunk this mom got creative…hey if I see you sniggering quit it…this is someone who couldn’t draw a straight line). When we were all done and K1 got home, I wore my dancing shoes and went to a zumba class — some me time, lots of sweating…and I felt better.

And today…I focused on soul food…if you asked me what is the one thing I “yearn” for in all things food…it is not Dalma or Kosha Mangsho or Rosgulla…I know…I know…I am betraying my north-eastern heritage….what I crave for is : Mor Kuzhambu and Kothavarakai Poriyal ( kadi and guvar subzi with a south indian twist).

And guess what…I made it today and savored every bite of  food in my bowl ( V- thanks for being patient during my recipe check-in, it turned out fabulous !!!). Life is slowly looking up…of course it is not perfect…it never will be, I don’t have answers and maybe I never will. and I am ok with it…Que sera, sera.Whatever will be, will be.The future’s not ours to see.

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I am not a morning person, neither am I one of those “breakfast” people. K2 unfortunately is like me…sunny temperament most of the time but a grouch in the mornings…it is painful to get him to drink his bottle of pediasure before leaving for Kindergarten.K1 however is a morning aka breakfast person…from the breakfast aisles in the grocery stores ( Think Honey and Oats Cluster), to huge cartons of breakfast bars from Costco (think Kashi, Fiber One)  to the muesli from the bulk section at Whole Foods, to pancakes and eggs (omelette’s are pretty much all he cooks) he goes through it all.
Seeing his avid appreciation for all things Muesli and the fact that we paid close to $7-9/lb for it,  I did a little bit of research on it –

  1. Muesli is a popular breakfast cereal based on uncooked rolled oats, dried fruit and nuts.
  2. It was developed around 1900 by Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital.
  3. It can be had hot or cold, primarily for breakfast and in some countries as a light dinner.
  4. Health Benefits
    1. All Around Nutrition -Eating muesli at breakfast will enhance your energy, and also help you to maintain high concentration levels throughout the day  
    2. Fulfills the daily fiber requirement- helps in lowering the blood cholesterol level. The soluble fiber (beta-glucans) in muesli helps in avoiding dramatic changes in blood sugar level.
    3. Aids weight loss – Complex Carbs are harder to digest making us feel full longer and also speed up metabolism
    4. Reduce risk of cancer – Oats, nuts and seeds, when added to Muesli, contribute plenty of phytochemical agents called lignans and antioxidants which decreases the risk of problems like breast cancer, prostate and ovarian cancer. 
    5. Prevents heart diseases -The presence of manganese in muesli along with low saturated fats keeps your heart safe. The nuts bring to the table the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and essential omega-3 fatty acids.

 Guess what I did next – I rolled up my sleeves and ended up making some muesli (really good stuff if I can say so myself). I used

  • 2 parts rolled oats
  • 1 part Barley Flakes 
  • 1 part nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios)
  • 1 part Dried Fruits (blueberries, cranberries, golden raisins). In a large mixing bowl I mixed all the above ingredients along with 2 tablespoons of  organic turbinado sugar. I made about 3 pounds of muesli for roughly $10.

p.s – I had Muesli this morning with some greek yogurt and honey and it tasted great.Have you done something good for your heart lately?

Sending this muesli recipe out to Tickling Palates  for the  Let’s Cook Series #7 ~ Scrumptious Breakfasts

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“same old slippers, same old rice,same old glimpse of paradise”
                                                               –William James Lampton

 I prove time and again that I am in heart and stomach a true indian girl by needing my bowl of rice every other day. Of course over time the quantity and type of rice has changed — the quantity is now minuscule and it is mostly brown basmati rice interspersed with black sticky rice, burmese red rice, jade pearl jasmine rice and parboiled indian rice. Let me clarify – K1 barely eats rice, K2 is slowly developing a liking for rice especially with Dal and Kootu…and cooking the rices above does take a longer time than their white counterpart – so my commitment to this venture is total.
Some fun statistics about rice:
  • There are 120,000 different kinds of rice….only 10% is grown and cultivated commercially and I have only tried about 50 kinds of rice — 40 of them after I moved to the US
  • China is the largest producer of rice followed by India
  • 75% of the rice is consumed in India and China
  • Rice is the main staple of 50% of the world population and provides about 20% of dietary energy
  • Govinda Bhog is my favorite kind of rice hand’s down found in Orissa and Calcutta and the perfect accompaniment for your dalma and aloo postey and begun bhaja…also known as aambe mohur and found in Maharashtra, which I am sure they have with aamti (given that K1 is Marathi I felt like I needed to add that in)
There is nothing as satisfying as sitting down on the table with a hot bowl of rice with ghee and paruppu podi OR the same rice with Dalma poured over it and some bodi chura on the side…my slice of paradise. I have had many a failed experiments with my black sticky rice — I first tried to make a porridge/stew with the rice and purple cauliflower…my house ended up with a weird smell unique to the cruciferous family and I had to regretfully throw away the gloppy mixture (including my beautiful ruined purple cauliflower). So I leaned heavily on a tried and tested comfort dish – Rice Pudding/Kheer. It was a hit…so when I read up about this event : Food Palette : Black

all I could think of was my wonderful  black rice kheer.

You need :
1 small cup of black rice (soaked overnight)
2 drops of Spice Drops (cardamom)
750 ml 2% Milk ( I sometimes use vanilla SO Coconut Milk – then I skip the cardamom)
Brown Turbinado Sugar (use whatever you normally use or have at home)
Simmer all the ingredients above till the rice is well cooked and the milk has reduced to about half the quantity and the texture is thick and creamy. I don’t have a religious order to adding these ingredients, just throw everything into my stock pot and it turns out fabulous. I have in a pinch (only once) pressure cooked the rice and then simmered it for 15 minutes in condensed milk and it tasted yummy.
I have realized in my adventures with food – that there are hits and misses…but mostly what counts is the journey and the spirit with which you take it. So with that thought I hope that you try something new this week…for me it’s meeting JL whom I am seeing after 9 years…I am meeting her son R for the first time. Hope you have a wonderful relaxed weekend.

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