Archive for March, 2011


Todo list – Weekend 03/27

Now that spring is officially here (even though the weather is rebelling, thanks to rains & cloudy weather), I decided to get started with the spring cleaning. The first room on the list is the kitchen. Since this is where we spend most of our time in, the kitchen takes the cake for the room that needs the most attention. So this weekend’s todo list is centered around the kitchen. Here goes..

Kitchen:

  • Dishes
  • Clean countertop
  • Clean cooktop, microwave, oven
  • Mop floors
  • Get floor mats for the kitchen (repurposed the existing extra floor mats that we had around the house.. yayy for trimming down the shopping list :D)
  • Update: Organize pantry

Other:

  • Laundry
  • Clean the entryway
  • Move into the other bedroom from the office
  • Clean the office so that it can be actually used for what it was intended instead of a storage room
  • Work!!

Update: Surprisingly had a very productive Sunday. Except for the thing that pays the bills (read: work) finished everything! Putting up a todo list on the blog seems to be working where everything else has failed 😉 But I wouldn’t have been tick off all the items on this checklist had L not helped out with the kitchen stuff. And for being a good kid today I get to feast on L’s Palak Chicken 😀

Cheers \m/

The only place I can imagine “Tsingtao meets corn tortillas meet indian chicken curry” ….

a BAY AREA KITCHEN 🙂

As promised, pics of tikka tacos. Made them once again yesterday and this time peetu did let me take a pic :).

Weekend To-do List (03/19-03/20)

I have these grand plans each weekend. These include cleaning the entire house from top to bottom. Do some DIY. But laziness and the i-want-to-rest-this-weekend preempts all my noble house-cleaning plans. But I’m taking a page of Anna’s book. I’m going to put up my todo list on my blog and update it every Sunday evening. Maybe this is the motivation that I desperately need.

ToDo list

Kitchen/Family Room:

  • Clean counters
  • Mop floors
  • Organize pantry

Bedroom:

  • Move all the stuff from master room -> office (master bath remodeling)
  • Pack up all the stuff that we won’t need for the next 2 months

Office:

  • Turn the office into a bedroom
  • Make it functional 😉

Rest of the house:

  • Clean the (only??!) functional bath in the house
  • Vacuum
  • Laundry

For a todo list, this seems manageable enough. Lets see how much on this list actually gets done.

Update: With L handling all the chores outside the house, I was useless when it came down to moving the heavy stuff from the bedroom->office, all thanks to my puny muscles 😦

Cooking & me

I love cooking. I come from a family who loves to cook and eat. We never think of food as a hobby or an interest, its just way of life. I remember how my dad used to get 3-4 kinds of seafood while coming back from work and insist that mom make one kind of fish for me, the other for my brother, one for curry.. you get the idea, right? So I always had this love for home cooked meals which I never realized till I came to US and started cooking my own meals. My start wasn’t that great. I couldn’t identify which dishes needed garlic, which required ginger and what dishes were incomplete without either of them. And if you are from India, not knowing this is like missing out on learning the alphabets.

Luckily for me, I met L (aka Zulu) here. One of our loves was food. Both of us loved home-cooked meals. 2 months into the relationship, he made the most life-changing statement ‘All your chicken dishes taste the same’… AWKWARD!! A statement like this is a absolute no-no according to all the relationship books out there. But, for a change, this was an my AHA moment. I finally realized that me dumping ingredients in the pan and ending up with something edible didn’t make me a cook. So I finally started taking cooking seriously. And let me say this, when they say ‘cook with your heart’, they aren’t kidding! When you start letting your heart decide which ingredients go in the pot, the food on the plate tastes exactly like what you imagined it would. Slowly the pieces started falling in place and I can proudly say that I’ve reached a point where my food tastes good. And L is happy 🙂 What more could a girl ask for …

The path to becoming a better cook is littered with many of the small wins that I’ll always cherish. It’s become a source of interesting conversation topics. Case in point, conversation on how to make Paleo cookies by substituting sugar & eggs with ripe bananas. Being a homebody has never been more fun when you are trying a new recipe or a previously unknown ingredient eg. Collard greens 🙂 And making new discoveries about myself. Me, a self professed seafood fan, am better at cooking vegetarian stuff as opposed to non-veg dishes. Who knew?!! It’s a stress buster, a routine, a habit. A welcome habit. What could underscore this more other than the topic that L wrote about while this current post was still a draft is about food 🙂 And the reason why this was a draft when he hit the publish button on his post?? I was devouring the tacos that he made B-)

Happy Cooking!!

Cheers \m/

Taco Truck

Taco Truck

Tikka Tacos was one thing I was planning on for so long and recently it became a reality. Food is one thing that really detoxifies me and it came once again to the rescue on a gloomy tiring/irritating Sunday evening. Didn’t have an awesome day and wanted to cook something for the evening to put a nice end to the weekend (funny concept ehh…END to a week-END(something like metabraces)?????). Well its about the tikka tacos and not the day so let me tell the taco tale.

Wanted to get some chiken drumsticks (started to dislike boneless stuff now) and wanted to make something not tandoori. Even though it tastes awesome, I am feeling kinda monotonous about it now. I always tell my friends about how I will start my taco truck and still  not for once did I try making a single taco , and voila there came the recipe, “I should make tacos. Lets make tacos“.

I headed straight to the mexican aisle and saw the small pack corn tortillas. Off-late  my buddies at work have taken me to different taco places and I loved all of them expect for the fact that nowhere I was able to find a nice blend of  indian curry meat and the mexican taco delight. Yeah, I had tikka bites once…they were alright…to be honest did not like their food and it was not cheap either.

So now for the recipe, I started with the chicken first and fried some cumin, cinnamon and a big black cardamom. When smelt the goodness and heard the cumins, threw in a big onion for the saute. Added big pieces of garlic and not that much ginger to the party to deepen the flavor. Sauted it for a while before adding two big tomatoes. Now comes the fun part when you get to the spices. These indian spices are like colors , they leave their unique mark on whichever painting they are used on and leave you with a very different thought even if you see a same color on a different painting .

My colors were salt,corriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala (dont ask me what goes in it. Its called garam masala and one more thing, MDH garam massala and not MTR), roasted fennel, roasted green cardamom and the star of the painting, the final sparkle, my favorite of all spices, Nutmeg. Gave it a mix till everything became a bit darker and came to a paste consistency. Added the chicken drumsticks and mixed it for a while before adding a cup of water and pressure cooked it for about 15 minutes. I did let the pressure release by itself and take its own sweet time. This ensured a nice penetration of the flavors and for me, some time to rest and prepare the salsa for the tacos

As I was doing this salsa stuff, I did not tell peetu about the tacos. She kind of knew that I was making chicken but totally voted for the indian meal when  asked  for a choice between tortillas and chapati.  Of-course who would experiment on a tiring/irritating/gloomy sunday evening? “Just gimmie something nice” was the feeling, and tacos?, no tacos was the call. Somehow I asked her to taste one taco and she reluctantly agreed. Immediately I chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, pickled jalapeño and mixed it with some salt, cayenne pepper (pinch) and lime juice. De-boned and chopped the meat and made a taco for her to taste topping it with the gravy of blended goodness.

Boy !! the sheer feel of satisfaction and that smile, the moment after that first bite, sucked all that bad stuff out of me. Sunday started feeling sunny even though it was 7 in the evening and monday was approaching, I felt awesome again. Had a bite from peetu and let the chicken rest for the night for a taco meal the next day.

After that I was sitting on my couch just thinking about how food is such an important part of our lives. It treats people in so many different ways. Some de-stress themselves by eating a lot of food, some by cooking a lot of food, but in the end its the food and the love of it which makes us all work 9-5 Mon-Fri so that we all can have that awesome sat-sun COOKING session that we have earned through the week.

~cheers

zulu

P.S: We ended up having chapati for the dinner on sunday and tacos were on the menu for the monday meal. I did not take a picture of the tacos this time. They really tasted awesome and looked even more delightful. Will post just the pictures next time on Tikka Tacos…cont…

Keep your chin up

Last Saturday I woke up really early. I thought I heard the doorbell ring. You see, a gardener was supposed to come early morning, on a Saturday (*rolling eyes*). And since my need of getting our front yard in a decent shape so that we don’t get known as the only people on the block with a horrible gardening skills, was greater than my much needed beauty sleep, I was awake since 7am. Long story short, yes the gardener did turn up at an ungodly hour of 8am on a Saturday. And I did what any normal person would do on a Saturday morning. I went back to sleep after he left.

I woke after 2 hours with a horrible realization that I couldn’t move my head. I had a shooting pain in my neck everytime I tried to tilt to my head. The whole weekend I relied on Icy-Hot cream. Come Tuesday morning, the neck pain not only showed no signs of receding, but actually resulted in me waking up in the middle of the night trying to wake up Z to ask him to help me move my head ‘coz I couldn’t do it on my own. 2 days and 2 trips to the Urgent Care and finally strong meds & a neck brace later I realized a few things.

  • When we are fine and healthy we take the simplest things for granted. I realized this when I had to ask my husband if my neck was straight or lopsided in an effort to adjust in a position with minimum pain.
  • The sympathy helps. You find yourself being bumped up in queues since people feel bad about making someone wearing a neck brace wait for long.
  • The neck brace…. Not weird at all.. Ok I’ll admit, its weird for the first 15 minutes where you think of yourself as really old & all. But the one I have is actually pretty cool. Its black & soft and definitely doesn’t look anything like the pink/beige ones you must’ve seen. And don’t even get me started on how comfortable it is when you actually need to wear it!
  • The doctors understand you when you say that you are scared of getting a shot inspite of the fact that it sounds like the only way out from the horrible pain. Their means of showing that they understand – pat your hand and look at you with an expression we generally reserve for kids who throw away all their candy just to make a point.
  • Toy Story (1-3) playing on the only TV in the hospital waiting room makes the long hours go so fast that you actually regret when the nurse calls out your name.. C’mon Woody was just trying to save everyone from ending up at Sunnyside!!!
  • And the last thing… I got asked atleast 5 times in my 2 visits whether I was pregnant or about to be.. all women out there should pray that they don’t end up getting hurt when they are pregnant. You won’t get the meds!!

Here’s to a happy and healthy week/month/year/life…

Cheers \m/

I went punk!

I am not blogging every week 😦

I should be! And I’m going to 🙂

What have I been upto?

I got a new haircut.. Colored my hair.. from black.. to violet.. Whoaa.. says everyone around me.. But I don’t feel that I’ve made a radical change. Well, some background. I’ve always had a particular haircut (a blunt cut throughout school/college/school). Only sorta radical change that I made was to straighten it a few years back. But I never colored it. So this time when I was frustrated with my look, I found myself making a call to a random salon I found on yelp and making an appointment. I reached there an hour before my scheduled time. Luckily they accepted walk-ins. When the stylist asked me what I wanted, I said ‘Do whatever you think would look good’. Luckily for me she had a great taste. She used the violet color (which doesn’t really stand up when used on black hair, but once light hits it, you can see that I wasn’t lying :P) Mind you my stylist had 3 colors in her shoulder length hair (blonde, purple & black).. When I stepped out, I realised that I always liked color. I just never colored my hair ‘coz it just took more effort/time that I wanted to invest.

Everyone, at work, at home was shocked when they saw me. Apparently I was always radical inside but lacked the outward expression for that. Maybe quite a few of us are like that. We, knowingly or unknowingly, bottle up the real us. I don’t know why. But when we let ourselves loose, we don’t feel an overwhelming sense of freedom. It feels normal. ‘Coz inside we know it’s the real us. We’ve always seen this, the others haven’t. It’s a change for them. So did I really go punk? Or was I always punk but never revealed the hidden layers to the outside world?

Whatever the case, I love it.. I love this me..

Cheers \m/

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