Tuesday, August 21, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things (Part 2)

As I was peering into the fridge...I realized that there were a few things that were an integral part of my pantry for summer...so I figured I will give you a peek into a few of my summer time favorites...

(A) A lunch box favorite is the grapes from the Farmer's Market...I give K2 a bag of grapes in his lunchbox and this is one thing that always comes back empty, along with the snack bag of cherry tomatoes.

(B) This wonderful wonderful drink that I discovered quite by accident - Sambazon...it is tart and yet sweet and the version I drink has Yerba Mate which has a caffeine boost for those days when all you want to do is stay in bed.

(C) Cabot Spreadable Cheddar ( Habanero)...it really adds a va-va-voom to our lunch box Sandwich's. If you don't like spicy stay away from this one...

(D) Oikos - Organic Fat Free Yogurt (plain) -- try this with a teaspoon of local honey and you have an incredible dessert...(ok...so I fudged it a little...more like 2 teaspoons)

(E) Sunspire Peppermint Patty : An ooey gooey dark chocolate patty which is all natural with the peppermint in the middle...my love affair with chocolate covered peppermint started almost 25 years back with my first bite of an "After Eight"...this feels like a "grown up" version of that addiction.

(F) Think-Thin Bars : I was skeptical till I took my first bite of a dark chocolate bar...hard to believe that it has very little sugar and about 20gms of protien...especially great for after a work-out. I especially love the Think-Thin Crunch bars ( Blueberry)...these are K1's vice of choice.

(G) Trader Joe's Wasabi Roasted Seaweed Snack : The fishy smell followed by the crisp crunch of the seaweed...and then the intense whack in the head from the Wasabi is intoxicating...I have at least 4 bags of these at home and eat them during a snack break at work...it's 60 calories takes some time to eat because of the wasabi kick and fills me up.

(H) Madhava Honey Stix....for a healthy yummy wholesome dessert on the go....

These are a few of the favorites around our place....what are some of your favorite summer food finds?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Monkey See, Monkey Do

No No...I am not talking about Eminem's rap...something strange happened last week that made me pause for  a minute and think. Most of you that know me, know about my need to keep the house spic and span ( yeah yeah...understatement I know)...so last Monday due to busy schedules as I was cooking dinner, I asked K1 to take the garbage out as it was garbage day...K1 did it in due course that evening (did I tell you he is a really awesome husband...most days)...afterwards he comes back in with a sheepish grin and says -- Garbage day is Wednesday, I am not taking that stuff back in...Next morning as we were leaving for work, we saw that 6 out of our 7 neighbors had left their garbage cans out...we felt kinda sorta guilty about it (for about a minute)...it brought home the point of how hard we try to conform, follow the pack and not stand out...Monkey See Monkey Do

Thinking back about my obsession with "health and food" it started with a "diet pill" in 2000 called Metabolite which had way too much caffeine and gave me an unnecessary buzz...followed by a "grapefruit diet"...which left me hungry all the time... then it was the "Hollywood Detox Diet"...no food just the juice for a couple days and in the following days, you see all the weight come right back. I followed this by the Weight-watcher's...God knows what else till in 2006, I found out K2 was on his way - all diets flew out of the window -- I focused on  balanced, healthy whole foods (think yogurt and banana for breakfast, a spinach salad with shrimp for lunch and moong dal khichidi for dinner with some healthy snacks thrown in), I walked 3 miles everyday and gained only 21 pounds during the pregnancy. Once K2 was born, I think we maintained a healthy diet. However, in 2009 with my dad's illness I became totally irrational about food - I took the family off dairy and meat for a while and this resulted in Vitamin D deficiencies for K1 and B12 deficiencies for me... I no longer follow diet fads...I exercise when I feel like it, we eat reasonably healthy foods and it is no longer about Monkey See, Monkey Do...

What did we do this weekend?K2 was not well and is still complaining of an ear ache - so it was a quiet weekend, we watched a Shakespeare's play in the park (Henry Vth )

Attended a friend's 50th birthday party where I binged on Ragda Pattice and Ras Malai...not ready yet for a work day but I am sure I will get there. For now I am admiring a near-perfect rose in our front yard and a vibrant little humming bird which is buzzing away busily near it...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Dirty "C" Word...

"Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can help you to feel good about yourself and those you share them with"

Yes...I wish I could use words to make myself feel better but as I sit more than 8000 miles away from my father...as he moves from treatment to treatment...the latest one being a blood transfusion due to incredibly low platelet count...all I feel is a sense of helplessness and anger. Helplessness because I am here and he is there and there is not much I can do from here...anger because I don't understand why he can't be that minority that miraculously gets better...why not him? Every treatment brings with it a new surge of hope...a hope that what is broken will be fixed yet the reality is that with every surge there is a following ebb and it is that  ebb that is intolerable...I go through my day almost like a robot...emotions, feelings...even sensations wrung out ( I realized at 3 PM that I hadn't eaten in 12 hours and I wasn't even hungry!)...Cancer is a four lettered word in my dictionary - A hardened inflexible nemesis which has found one of my two Achilles points...how is one to stay positive. If I feel so lost 8000 miles away, I shudder to think of what my parents go through day in day out...fighting, hoping, fighting some more and trying to stay positive? Yes in my life Cancer is a dirty word...it has made me in a not-so-positive way :

  1.  rethink my priorities
  2. taken me into the deep abyss of depression...and I am mostly an optimistic sort of a person
  3.  question the purpose of life ( we die anyway...so why is living so important)
  4. makes me irrationally over-correct 
And honestly, the hype about people who become strong in the face of adversity is passe...I am one of those people who crumbles under extreme pressure (and the reality is those moments of extreme pressure have been few and far between)...however these days  I feel like I am hitting that break point quite often (giving myself countless pep talks...I believe the support system needs to be internal)...I pull myself from the brink...go on with some semblance of  normalcy...but what exactly is "normal" in such circumstances???

I listen to Mariah Carey's "Hero Within"  again and again and in some ways it is my coping mechanism for today and for now I will take what I can get -

"There's a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don't have to be afraid
Of what you are
There's an answer
If you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you know
Will melt away

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth-

That a hero lies in you"

Watch it here -

And I hope it helps you someday,as it helped me today...