Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day - Do some More

The feelings I don't have I don't have.
The feeling I don't have, I won't say I have.
The feelings you say you have, you don't have.
The feelings you would like us both to have, we neither of us have.
The feelings people ought to have, they never have.
If people say they've got feelings, you may be pretty sure they haven't got them.
So if you want either of us to feel anything at all
You'd better abandon all ideas of feelings altogether.

                                                                                                              -- DH Lawerence
Why did I choose this poem? I absolutely love DH Lawerence and had read his book  first at the ripe age of 9 -- of course it was from my Dad's library and wasn't on my Read List...what I do like about this poem is the assertion that feelings are fine and dandy but on this day it's about the doing that counts. I am worried that Earth Day will become yet another commercial venture for many...just like Valentine's Day and Mother's Day (hey! I got a beautiful bag one mother's day, so you don't hear me complaining).
So, do I do my part to conserve and protect? Here are some of the things I am trying to do -
  1. We drive a Hybrid  Electric Car
  2. 100% of the bulbs in our house are CFL
  3. We use re-usable grocery bags about 50% of the time (the rest I forget, so I don't beat myself on it)
  4. I use the shower for exactly 5 minutes (conserve water)
  5. I buy organic and support my local farmers
  6. I do not buy red meat and have reduced food waste by 20% (I have reduced my grocery bill by 25% even though I switched to 95% Organic)
  7. I only buy sustainably farmed fish
  8. I pack my son's lunch in lunch box's that I can wash
  9. We have reduced our electricity and gas consumption by 10% over the last year
  10. 50% of our cleaning products are green
I am sure there are more....but these are the one's I can remember. The fun thing I did with K2 today was letting him take 5 plastic grocery bags and recycle them in the Disney store for a free re-usable Mickey Mouse Bag - He was so excited !!!
I am constantly amazed at how much our parents in India used to re-use and recycle. I am hoping that slowly over time I can increase my awareness level and help my son develop compassion towards his environment and how it is being constantly taxed and burdened by man's synthetic actions...change after all is change - be it big or small. How are you celebrating Earth Day?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Curry in a Hurry

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

                                                                                                  --Anton Chekhov

What is it about life that it never does put the gauntlet down...throwing new challenges just when you think you are done with the last one and ready for some quiet time. K2 has been sick since last Wednesday - a low grade fever, a cough and cold - the doctor pronounced it a bronchial infection today and put him on antibiotics and a nebulizer. So mostly trying to keep the hyper-active kid rested and hydrated (sounds easy, lets swap places? )
Our weekend was quiet - we took K2 to a show in our public library this weekend of the Happy Birds and we also went down to the Farmer's market. This weekend saw us bringing back fresh organic strawberries, Broccolli, Cabbage, Spring Onions and Tangerines. I also picked up Orange Almond Cookies, Shortbread Cakes and Foccacia Bread from Beckman's and Babaganoush from Sinbad.
Today evening, my brother (mostly him) and I made a Thai Red Curry. I say mostly him because, though this dish is pretty quick to come together, there is an hour's worth of prep. work that A did (mostly cutting vegetables artistically)...the actual cooking was lesser than 10 minutes.

What you need:
Vegetables you love - we used asparagus, baby corn, bamboo shoots, broccolli, carrots and spring onions; Thai Bird's Eye Chilli (12), Garlic (half a head), Fresh Basil (the Asian Market kind)
Sprouted Organic Extra-Firm Tofu (Trader Joe's)
Mae Ploy Thai Red Curry Paste (Asian Grocery Store) -- 2-4 teaspoons (Depending on your spice tolerance)
Chakoah Coconut Milk (8 oz)
Tiparos Fish Sauce (Asian Grocery Store) - OPTIONAL
1.5 Spoons Brown Sugar
Saffola Oil ( you can use Soyabean, but I didn't have that)

How to make:

Cut the tofu into small cubes, spray Olive Oil or PAM and sprinkle sea salt and Broil till it has a light brown exterior.Keep Aside
Heat the Oil, when it starts shimmering - Add the Spring Onions, Chillies and Garlic, as it is half cooked (slightly browning) add the brown sugar. When the mixture smells fragrant, add the red curry paste and let it fry for a while. Add 2 tablespoons of the Fish Sauce, When the Spice mixture has cooked through (About 2 minutes) add the vegetables (not the Basil) and cook for about 3 minutes.Add the Broiled Tofu Now add the 8 Oz of Coconut milk and another 8 Oz of Water and let the mixture cook for 2 minutes. Add the finely chopped Basil leaves and let it rest for a while. Soul Satisfying Curry is ready to be enjoyed with Hot Rice (preferably Jasmine). And surely not a "Curry in a Hurry" but with A around for the prep. work - it was a 10 minute curry ;-)

This curry goes to Charitha's Blog for her event - C for Colorful Curry's

How has your week been so far?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Comfort Food,Fast.

A mother's gentle hand on the heated brow...
A cool breeze on a hot day,
A kind word on a hard day,
A warm meal on a cold rainy morning...
A hug from one's child.
Comfort can mean so many things...

This has been a quiet yet busy week, the air is rife with anticipation of things that are yet to happen. Last week saw me buy a beautiful yellow rose plant, a meyer lemon tree and a red chilly plant...I don't have green thumbs but I definitely look forward to these plants growing and flourishing. My son's pre-school had the year of the young we saw many avataars of K2.

Silly K2

Movie Star K2


K2, the Cowboy

K1 was MIA for 2 days at an offsite. On one of those cold days, my brother made me a simple meal of idli upma. We had picked up a packet of frozen idlis from the Indian store and voila! this meal was ready in less than 5 minutes.

You need :
6 Idlis (frozen or pre-made by you) - dont know how to make idlis - follow here.
Idli Karam Podi ( I usually get mine from Grand Snacks in Chennai but had run out so we brought some of Priya's from the Indian Store)
Curry Leaves
Hing, a teaspoon of ghee or oil and whole mustard seeds for tempering, salt to taste
Cilantro...chopped finely

To make:
Heat the ghee....add the hing and then the mustard seeds and curry leaves...when it releases a fragrant smell, add the idli (broken into small pieces). Add the Idli Karam Podi and mix. When the podi is incorporated into the mix, shut off your cooking range. Add salt to taste if required and the chopped cilantro. Eat while steaming hot...enjoy with a cup of hot indian chai.

For me this food defined comfort on a cold, wet day. This recipe for idli upma goes to Priya's Blog for the blog event - Fast Food Not Fat Food.

What have been your sources of comfort this week?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Life: A Perspective...

A perfectionist with an organized To-Do list for both home and work, an obsessive attitude towards cleanliness and paying bills on time and being debt free…this poem by Nadine Stair hit a nerve…I have printed it out and it is displayed very prominently at my work area yet…I don’t think I have completely internalized it….is it complacency that I think time is on my side…however this is my inspiration for 2011 ...for living Life a different way.


I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.
I'd relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.

I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I'm one of those people who live
sensibly and sanely hour after hour,
day after day.

Oh, I've had my moments,
And if I had it to do over again,
I'd have more of them.
In fact, I'd try to have nothing else.
Just moments, one after another,
instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I've been one of those people who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat
and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.
                                                                                      By, (Late)Nadine Stair, 85 years old.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Existential Crisis

"I have always wondered whether the boiling point of milk, is that point at which it starts to simmer and slowly rise to the surface or does the boiling point actually happen after it has simmered and spilt all around the gas range"...

Have you ever felt close to boiling I sit in this borrowed nook with the soothing smell of books on a borrowed Wi-Fi Connection listening to Gloria Gaynor crooning (how the hell did she know?) "I will survive"...I have reached it. I had  heard someone mention "Existential Crisis" - 2 weeks back and the reality was with all the constant chatter in both work and life - I didn't question my existence, I live because I believe it is worth it and I want to. There are times when the pressure becomes constant...mostly the external pressures of constant scrutiny, criticism and the feeling of isolation. I am sure it is temporary and it will pass. But till then all I feel is Ennui...