Aug 31, 2009

Chili’s -- Never again!

Ok, so I wasn’t going to announce on the blogosphere that it was my birthday today but a disappointing lunch at a Chili's left me no choice but to post it.
My day started off nice enough. Tushar let me sleep in late and had made tea and breakfast (omelet and toast) for me. I do not prefer to eat out much and especially not in a restaurant which serves American and Italian fare on the same menu. We usually do a restaurant lunch only two or three times a year for a couple of reasons. I prefer homemade food to restaurant food for the same reason I prefer home baked cookies to store bought. Since it is usually for a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary we prefer to go to a nice eating joint run by a chef or a family instead of a chain restaurant like Chili's.
Today was an exception since we had to go to the shops and decided to go to a nearby mall which also has a Chili’s restaurant. Usually, it is not our choice of restaurant for any occasion but we had a couple of gift certificates our friendly pest control guy had given us. We shopped around for a while before we went in to eat. Before leaving the house I had googled “Eat this not that at Chili’s” and there was not much to choose from their decadent but grossly unhealthy menu. The Men's Health Magazine which has conducted the survey of hundreds of restaurants around the country, had given the Chili's menu a D grade in terms of serving healthy fair but recommended ‘Guiltless Grilled Chicken burger’ and 'Chicken Fajita Pita’ as a means of "survival strategy".
We finished our meals and ordered their decadent Molten Chocolate Cake since it was my birthday “which comes once a year”.
The food, I have to say, was at best, mediocre. Tushar's burger was “ok” and the side of steamed broccoli was bland. My grilled chicken fajita had sautéed onions and bell peppers smothered in oil and the pita was soft and crumbly. The only redeeming feature of the meal was the dessert but even with the two of us sharing it became too sweet by the time we were almost done with it. With 1150 cal in the cake topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce, it is little wonder we left the restaurant feeling full and heavy. As the day progressed the feeling soon turned to lethargy and an intense thirst (high sodium). By evening I was drinking water like a fish. The two of us had not felt hungry by the time this piece was written (it is nearly midnight) and we had lunch at about 2 in the afternoon.
I shudder to think how we would be feeling if we had gone with one of the more decadent menu choices. A lesson learnt at the expense of our stomachs.

Aug 25, 2009

Read Pomegranate Soup and slurp red lentil soup

It is hard to believe Pomegranate Soup is Marsha Mehran’s first novel. It is not so hard to believe her love affair with food. It comes across through the novel’s heroine Marjan who cooks everything in her restaurant with the utmost care and attention. The oldest of the three sisters, she is thrust into the role of a parent and caretaker to Bahar and Layla at an early age. The novel moves deftly between Khomani revolution era Iran and the present day Irish village of Ballinacroagh (Ba-li-na-crow).

The sisters escape the increasingly volatile Iran with their lives and a few treasured possessions and manage to find a life in England for a few years before they have to flee Bahar’s dark past once more. They try to make a new life for themselves in the little Irish village by opening The Babylon Café that serves Persian fare. With its rich aromas of spices and herbs it attracts an eclectic mix of villagers, from the local priest to the town hairdresser and the church social ladies to teenagers and children who come to eat the elephant ears Marjan cooks every day.
The sisters quickly discover that all is not well when the town bully Thomas McGuire finds out that the Italian café he had coveted for years has been converted into the Babylon Café. He starts a campaign to run the sisters run out of business by every means possible and they find themselves fighting a different enemy altogether. This time around their weapons are the cherished recipes Marjan took with her as they fled Iran and their shield the few patrons who find their lives changed when they eat her delicious food.
Mehran cooks a sweat and spicy tale of the three sisters and the bond they share. They are not unlike a pomegranate with its seeds sticking together under a hard shell. But once the shell is broken, the sisters give up their sweetness for the world to enjoy.
For the recipe inspired by the book I wanted to make the elephant ears that Marjan makes every day by rolling out the dough, deep frying in oil and sprinkling with sugar. But since I am on calorie count I decided to go with the red lentil soup. Red lentils or split masoor dal do not take long to cook on the stove top. However, you can cook these in the pressure cooker. This is my shortcut recipe adapted from the book’s original recipe.
Red Lentil Soup (Masoor dal)
I am sending this click off to Jugalbandi's CLICK - ALLIUM.
1 cup dry red lentils
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground turmeric
4 tsp ground cumin
3 cups water / chicken or vegetable broth
Salt to taste
2 tsp ground black pepper

For garnish:
1 small onion, chopped in half moons
2 tsps olive oil

Wash the lentils thrice in water and keep aside.
In a pot heat a tablespoon of oil and fry the chopped onions, garlic, turmeric and cumin until soft and fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till soft. Add the lentils, broth and water to the pot. Add salt and black pepper and bring the soup to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or till the lentils are cooked through.
Fry the onion for the garnish in olive oil until crisp but not blackened. Add as a garnish over individual bowls of soup.

I am sending this off to Susan’s MLLA – 14 and to Sireesha's Soup and Juice event.

Aug 24, 2009

Watching Weight: Day Ten

Simple Chicken Curry
I have come to the end of my weight watching series. Not because I won’t be watching and logging my food intake but because it has become repetitive for the purpose of this blog. Also, I have lost about 2 lbs without doing any high intensity exercise and just watching what I eat. I am going to continue doing that and gradually move on to some cardio workouts.
Now for the daily food log:
Breakfast: Cereal - 1/4 cup of raisin bran and 1/2 cup of cheerios with one cup of milk.
Lunch: Khichdi and a bowl of yogurt with a teaspoon of sugar.
Afternoon: A cup of tea with a couple of store bought dhokla.
Dinner: Chicken curry with two rotis and sliced cucumber for salad.
Dessert: A piece of dark Scharffenberger chocolate and a nectarine.
Simple chicken curry
Serves 2
I do not cook meats often in my kitchen for a few reasons. For one, Tushar and I do not crave meat and are happy to consume lentils and veggies on a regular basis. I also do not like the cleaning up and the disinfecting involved with the knife, chopping board and the sink after handling meat. The only occasion I will make it is for guests who are carnivores or for a large party. Today was an exception. My friend in Atlanta had made a chicken curry when I was staying with her and it was delicious. She had cooked the marinated chicken in a toaster oven for 10 minutes and then added it to the simple curry. Of course I had to try it and of course it didn’t turn out exactly like her. But I was happy with the overall result.
4—5 chicken tenders, chopped into bite size pieces
1 medium onion, chopped in big chunks
5-6 garlic cloves
1 inch piece of ginger
1/2 cup of crushed tomatoes in a can or 2 large tomatoes pureed
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp coriander-cumin powder (dhana jeera)

For marinade:
1/4 cup thick yogurt
1 tsp chicken tikka masala or garam masala
1 tsp red chili powder
Salt to taste
Combine the marinade ingredients and add the chicken pieces to it. Keep it covered for a few hours in the fridge. *Heat the toaster oven to 350 degrees and put the marinated chicken pieces in a foil lined tray. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes, turning over half way through.
In a mini food chopper, combine the onion, ginger and garlic and pulse to form a coarse paste. In a karahi or thick bottom pan, heat a tablespoon of oil and fry the onions till they begin to turn brown and leave oil on the sides. Add the spices and roast for a minute before adding the crushed tomatoes. Cook till the tomatoes start releasing the oil. Add water if the curry is too thick. Slide the cooked chicken pieces and bring the curry to a rapid boil before turning it off. Garnish with cilantro and transfer to a serving dish. Sever with rotis and rice.
*Note: If you would rather skip the toaster oven step, just slide the marinated chicken pieces in the curry and boil for ten minutes before turning the heat off. Chicken tends to get rubbery and hard if boiled too long.

Aug 21, 2009

Watching Weight: Day Nine and a tag

Eating as usual
I have been eating a little piece of dark chocolate nowadays when snack attack or a sugar craving hits me. It is not as bad as you think. Half a bar is about 250 cal but cal from fat is about 140. It takes me about five days to eat it. At about 30 cal a piece I think it is ok. Here's the food log:
Breakfast: A cup of tea, a hardboiled egg and a glass of 1% milk.
Lunch: A toasted potato sandwich with a bowl of yogurt. A piece of dark chocolate and some toasted, unsalted pistachios.
Afternoon: A cup of tea
Dinner: Matki beans usal with two rotis and a few slices of cucumber.
Dessert: A nectarine.
Exercise: Brisk 30 minutes walking and 10 minutes of stretching at home.

When I used to work at Indian Express, Screen, every year we would have the Screen Awards Show, which was similar to Filmfare awards. We used to talk to the judges and meet the nominees and interview the winners. It was a fun month although hectic month. This month has been similar, what with writing my food log posts everyday and award distribution in the blogosphere, except I am on the receiving end this time. As if in appreciation of my food logging efforts, PJ of Seduce Your Tast Buds passed on the following awards to me. Thank you PJ.
Here are the tags to accept the awards:
1. What is your current obsession? Losing a few lbs, my blog and finishing off The Golden Compass trilogy.
2. What are you wearing today? A tank top and shorts. Its hot here!
3. What’s for dinner today? Matki beans usual with rotis.
4. What’s the last thing you bought? A toy fire truck for my son and some glass containers for storing leftover food.
5. What are you watching right now? Cailou on PBS. I am not actually watching it but it is playing in front of me.
6. What do you think about the person who tagged you? I don’t know PJ much but I like her blog and love her events and roundup page.
7. If you could have a fully furnished house, totally furnished, anywhere in the world, where would you want it? I would probably like a travelling house that I could take to different countries for a couple of years. Of course Tushar and my son have to be there with me.
8. What are your must have pieces for summer? Shorts, tank tops, my suunglasses and my razor. Can’t have stubby legs sticking out of the shorts!
9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour where would it be? Back home to Indore cause it is my mom’s B’day today.
10. Which language do you want to learn? Spanish and Konkani.
11. Who do you want to meet right now? My sister in Pune, India.
12. What is your favorite color? Black cause it hides all the bulges and is slimming.
13. What is your favorite piece of clothing in your closet? My yellow wedding saree that I don’t get to wear often.
14. What is yor favorite magazine? Parents and Babytalk magazine.
15. What is your dream job? A food and travel writer. I’ll settle for an editor at a publishing house.
16. If you had a $100 what would you spend it on? My husband and kid.
17. What inspires you? Books, nature, wanderings of my daydreaming mind, my 3 year old and my 39 year old hubby.
18. Three styling tips that work for you? Comfortable clothing, no body odor and no makeup except lipstick once in a while.
19. Coffee or tea? Unquestionably, TEA.
20. What do you do when you feel depressed? Read, take a walk, have a talk with Tushar.
21. What is meaning of your name? I think it means victory – Jay(a).
22. Which other blogs do you love visiting? It is like asking which child do you love more.
23. Favorite Dessert? My mom’s whole wheat sheera and any chocolate dessert.
24. What do you consider unethical in blogging? Plagiarism, rude comments, anonymous rude comments, insistence on following a blog to enter an event.
Here’s my question?
25. What makes a blog stand apart from other blogs? Or what is it that makes you follow a blog?
I have to tag 10 bloggers for this award and since I have already tagged some of my favorite ones and others already have these I would like to pass on the tags to all the wonderful people who have been following me for the past few months. If you haven’t already got these awards, please feel free to carry these over to your wonderful blogs. I would love to know you more trough these questions.

Aug 20, 2009

Weight Watching: Day Eight

Yesterday being a day of not so healthy eating, I decided to eat as healthy as possible. Here’s the food log:
Breakfast: A bowl of bread upma and a cup of tea.
Lunch: Left over pav bhaji with a bun toasted in olive oil and a small bowl of yogurt with a teaspoon of sugar.
Late afternoon: A cup of tea.
Dinner: Shredded rotisserie chicken on a toasted bun with guacamole and a few cassava chips.
Dessert: A pear.
Exercise: Brisk 30 minute walk and 10 minutes of stretching.
2 avocados
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 small tomato, deseeded and chopped fine (optional)
1 green chilli, chopped fine
1 tbsp of cilantro, chopped fine
Half a juice of lemon
Salt and generous black pepper
Scoop out the avocado pulp into a bowl. Add the chopped onions, tomatoes and green chili. Sprinkle salt and fresh black pepper. Mix and mash with a spoon. Add cilantro and lemon juice, smear on sandwiches or eat with corn chips.

Aug 18, 2009

Watching Weight: Day Six

As you can see today was leftovers day.
Breakfast: Cereal, same as the day before.
Lunch: A bowl of rice with toor dal and chori gravy. A bowl of yogurt with a teaspoon of sugar.
Snack in between: 1/4 cup mix of roasted walnuts and almonds. A Newman’s Own mini chocolate chip cookie (40 cal).
Dinner: Two rotis with left over chori curry. A couple of pieces of watermelon.
Exercise: No exercise for today.

Watching Weight: Day Seven
Pav Bhaji with Broccoli

A clarification for the contents of the daily food log today: For lunch I ate my three year old’s left over PB&J sandwich because I can’t bear to throw away good food.
I had guests coming over for dinner and I had deep fried some store bought frozen samosas. I was not planning to eat more than a couple but our guests were later than the usual desi late time (it’s a long story, set for a rant post) and I was so hungry by the time one half of the couple arrived I ate quite a few of those. For dessert I had ice cream which at 110 calories wasn’t too bad but since I had resolved in my first post not to eat ice cream I was feeling a little conscious but happy. I figure it is ok to indulge once in a while otherwise you end up binging on it eventually.
Breakfast: One egg omelette over a piece of toasted artisan garlic Gilroy bread with a slice of pepper jack cheese melted on top.
Lunch: A bowl of leftover chori curry and a piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter and strawberry jam. Half a cup of yogurt with a teaspoon of sugar.
Dinner: 8-10 deep fried petite samosas and a slice of toasted bun with 1 cup of pavbhaji.
Dessert: 1/4 cup of Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino Ice Cream (110 cal).
Exercise: 30 minutes of brisk walk around the neighborhood (yes, I was in my flip flops again).

Honest Pav Bhaji with Broccoli (Vegetarien Sloppy Joe)
I’d never heard of sloppy joe till I came to US eight years ago. I have never made it but as far as I know SJ is made by cooking a lot of loose meat and then eaten by stuffing it between two pieces of bun or bread slices. To me that sounds like Pav Bhaji which is nothing more than a lot veggies cooked together (Bhaji) in a sloppy mess and eaten with buns (pav).
Like all Indian recipes, there are lots of variations to making Pav Bhaji. However, potatoes, green bell pepper and cauliflower are a few of the must have ingredients. The amount and kind of spices used, the ratio of different veggies used and the consistency of the bhaji all vary according to the cook’s discretion. So when I started making it with left over broccoli instead of cauliflower, I felt I was breaking a cardinal rule of PavBhaji. But the end result was just as delicious as the original.
Note: In the past I have tried various combinations of store bought pav bhaji masala and other spices. I find sticking to any one brand of PavBhaji masala gives the best results. I used Honest brand which is a local, Ahmadabad pav bhaji joint of the same name and they sell the masala in their restaurants.

1 big onion, chopped fine
2 tomatoes, chopped fine
1/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
4 tsp Pav Bhaji masala (vary according to taste)
1/2 tsp red chili powder
3 potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 green bell pepper, chopped in small cubes
1 -2 cups of broccoli, chopped fine
1/2 cup of frozen or fresh peas
Cilantro and chopped onion for garnish

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a flat pan and sauté the onions for about a minute. Add the ginger garlic paste and a tablespoon of pav bhaji masala. Roast for a minute till the raw smell of spices turns fragrant. Add the broccoli and bell pepper and cook for a few minutes before adding chopped tomatoes and some more masala. Cover and cook till the tomatoes soften and give off their juices, maybe 5—7 minutes.
Add the mashed potatoes and remaining masala powder. Stir to mix all the veggies together. Add the pea and the crushed tomatoes. Adjust salt and add some water. Cover and cook on low for about 15 minutes before mashing the veggies with the back of a ladle or a potato masher. Turn off the heat and transfer to a serving dish.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and finely chopped onion and serve with toasted pav or bun.
To make this richer and creamier, add a tablespoon of butter (preferably Amul). I being on calorie watch skipped it.
Recently, Vaishali of Holy Cow posted the recipe not only for Bombay Pav Bhaji but also for the pav* (buns) that traditionally are eaten with them. Vaishali's experience of Pav Bhaji stalls and the other eating joints of Bombay are so close to mine, I can relive them through her post.
*I did try making the pavs but must have messed something up in my measurements because though mine tasted delicious they came out crusty on top.

Aug 15, 2009

Watching weight: Day Five

Red Chori Beans Curry
My toe is still sore and I am walking around the neighborhood in my flip flops, getting used to puzzled looks. Yesterday, I walked an extra few minutes and increased calorie burn to about 200. Calorie watch of the day:
1/4 cup of M&Ms = 210 calories

Reason for highlighting M&M:
For the longest time, I would grab a handful at least three four times a day whenever sugar rush hit me. I realized recently that by the end of the day I was eating almost 1/2 cup of these colorful drops of sweetness or about 420 empty calories. If I was running on the treadmill for 40 minutes and burning 400 calories, I was negating that calorie burn by consuming the M&Ms!

Now for the daily food log:
Breakfast: I know it is getting repetitive but what can I say, I like my cereal mix. 1/4 cup of raisin bran and 1/2 cup of Cheerios with a cup of milk.
Lunch: A bowl of Khichdi with some watermelon slices for dessert.
Evening Tea: One cup of tea with 2 teaspoon of sugar.
Dinner: Two rotis with red chori beans curry. A bowl of yogurt with one teaspoon of sugar and a nectarine for after dinner dessert.
Exercise: Brisk walk around the neighborhood for about 30 minutes.
Wishing all my desi brothers and sisters a very happy Independence Day.
Jai Hind!

Red Chori Beans Curry (Red cow peas or Adzuki (azuki) beans curry)

I had never eaten chori till about six months ago when a friend made it for dinner at her house. I fell in love with this petite looking version of red kidney beans or rajma. They are much sweater and as full of protein as rajma. The best part is they cook quicker. Soak them in plenty of water the night before or at least 6-8 hours before cooking.
Also check out RedChillies delicious and nutritious Red Chori with cabbage recipe.
1 cup of chori beans, soaked in plenty of water overnight
1 medium onion, chopped thin
1 tomato, chopped thin
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp asafetida
1/2 tsp coriander cumin powder
1 tsp cumin seeds

Heat a tablespoon of oil in the pressure cooker and add the cumin seeds and asafetida. As the seeds start to crackle add the onions and cook till they turn translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste, garam masala and the coriander cumin powder. Roast for a few minutes till the raw smell of the spices turns aromatic.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cover. Once the tomatoes are softened add the chori and salt. Adjust water and put the lid on. Turn off the heat after three whistles. Once the pressure is cool, open the cooker, transfer to a serving dish and serve with rice or rotis.

This red chori curry goes to My Legume Love Affair hosted by Susan of the Well Seasoned Cook.

I am a Virgo and since the curry turns out brownish in color (color of my Zodiac) I am sending this to FIC Zodiac event hosted by Ashwini for Sunshinemom who gave birth to this wonderful event.

Aug 13, 2009

Weight Watching: Day Four

Click here for Day Three

I was never much for reading calorie information on labels but it is a well known fact that writing down the calorie intake also helps reduce calorie intake. So from now on i'll try to write down as much information as I can about the total calories I am consuming. Or at least do a calorie watch like this:
1 tbsp of tomato ketchup = 60 cal

Breakfast: 1/4 cup of raisin bran (50 cal) and 1/2 cup (50 cal) of cheerios with a cup of 1% milk(100 cal). Total cal: 210 cal.
Lunch: Grilled potato sandwich (300 cal) with half a cucumber cup up in slices. Just a small dollop of ketchup. Couple of pieces of watermelon for dessert.
Tea: One cup of tea with two small pieces of cranberry artisan bread smeared with peanut butter. (approx 50 cal)
Dinner: Two rotis with left over potato broccoli sabzi and a bowl of yogurt with a teaspoon of sugar. (approx 350 - 400 cal)
Exercise: 20 minute brisk walk around the neighborhood (about 150 cal burnt).
Total Calorie Consumed: 960 - 150 = 810 cal.

Grilled Potato Sandwich

I was going to eat the left overs from previous night for lunch. But making this sandwich for my 3 year old made me realize how long the potato sabzi had been in the fridge (6 days) and if I didn’t use it up, I would have to throw it in a day or two. This is same sabzi I use for stuffing Aloo Paranthas.
I used two slices of sourdough bread and two slices of pepperjack cheese. It also tastes good with green chutney either spread on the slice or as a side or both.
With the crusts cut off the bread slices are about 100 cal each. The two slices of pepperjack cheese are about 80 cal and the potato sabzi about 20 cal. I figured a 300 cal lunch was pretty healthy. Not to mention the fiber provided by the cucumber slices. Normally, I would have eaten the sandwich with store bought potato chips. Additional calories not consumed – 140 calories.

2 slices of sourdough or any white bread
2 tablespoon of potato sabzi
2 slices of pepperjack cheese or cheese of your choice
Olive oil to drizzle

Plug in the sandwich grill. Spread the potato sabzi evenly on one bread slice. Add the cheese slices on top. Cover with the other bread slice. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Put it OO side down on the grill and drizzle some more on the top side. Close the grill and cook till the sandwich is crispy and golden. Serve with ketchup or for a healthier version with green chutney.
The sandwich is so easy to make, especially if you have the sabzi ready and in my family this is eaten not only for lunch but also for breakfast, brunch and dinner, depending on what the mood strikes. For this reason the sandwich is going to EC's WYF:Breakfast. This sandwich also goes to Cooking for Kids: Evening Snacks event started by Sharmi of Neiyedyam and hosted this month by Diyva of Dil Se.

Aug 12, 2009

Weight Watching: Day Three

Click here for Day Two

I usually eat two rotis for lunch and dinner but today I had enough dough left over from the night before to make only one. Also, I have started brushing my teeth once I have finished a meal. It helps me not crave snacks between meals besides keeping my breath minty fresh.

Breakfast: One cup of tea, a hardboiled egg and a cup of cereal (1/4 cup raisin bran and 3/4 cup cheerios with one cup of 1 % milk).
Lunch: One roti with left over batata ros (potatoes in onion tomato gravy), half a cup of homemade yogurt with a teaspoon of sugar. A few pieces of watermelon for dessert craving.
Evening Tea: 1 cup of tea with 2 tsps of sugar.
Dinner: Two rotis with toor dal and broccoli, potato sabzi. Half a cup of yogurt with a teaspoon of sugar.
Exercise: 20 min brisk walk around the neighborhood, again in flip flops.
Dessert: A nectarine before flossing and brushing teeth.

Potato broccoli sabzi (stir fry)
Serves : 2 as a side dish and 4 as a main dish.
This is a very simple Indian style of making stir fry in which, unlike the Chinese stir fry, the vegetable are cooked tender. You can interchange cauliflower and broccoli; add peas and any other left over vegetables in the fridge. I had an orange bell pepper and some button mushrooms left over. The spices are not many and when I cook a couple of different veggies together, I like to add the salt and masala powder in increments to each veggie as it goes in the pan. This way all the veggies get spiced up equally.
2 potatoes, diced into small cubes
1 bell pepper, cut into long stripes
1-2 cups of broccoli, chopped into bite size pieces
4-5 button mushrooms, chopped

For tadka:
1/2tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp sabzi masala/ garam masala (I used Everest sabzi masala)

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a deep karahi or wok and add the mustard seeds. As they start to sputter, add the cumin seeds and turmeric powder. Roast on medium heat for a minute before adding the potatoes. Add a little bit of chili powder, sabzi masala and salt. Cover and cook for a few minutes, before adding the broccoli. Once again season with chili powder, sabzi masala and salt. Cover and cook for a few more minutes before adding the bell pepper and the mushrooms. Finish off the seasoning and cook till all the veggies are cooked through.
Garnish with cinlantro and serve with toor daal (lentil soup) and rotis.
The broccoli potato sabzi goes to Viki's Side Dish with Chapati event.

Aug 11, 2009

Weight Watching: Day Two

Batata Ros (Potatoes in onion tomato gravy)

I have to mention that as I start on my weight loss regimen, I have increased my water intake from 8 glasses to 10-12 glasses a day. Also, I do not drink any kind of soda or store bought juice.
Breakfast: One cup of tea and a hardboiled egg.
Lunch: Two rotis with left over methi dal and palak paneer (cottage cheese in spinach gravy). A fresh fig for dessert.
Evening Tea: One cup of tea with a slice of artisan cranberry raisin bread smeared with 1/2tbsp of peanut butter.
Dinner: Two rotis with batata ros and a glass of lassi.
Exercise: Brisk 15 minute walk around the neighborhood, in my flip flops, since I still can't wear my sneakers.
Batata Ros (Potatoes in onion tomato gravy)
Serves: 2 - 3

This is a favorite of Tushar’s because, well, his "mom makes the best batata ros in the world.” (Ros in Konkani means gravy). He called up his mom and wrote down the recipe. It was fairly easy to make. Tushar ate it with some “maida poli” which is nothing but basic crepes made from flour, eggs and milk. Since they don’t fit with my diet plan, I stuck to rotis.
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 large tomato, chopped
2 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes/tiangles/ rectangles

For Tadka:
4-5 curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander-cumin powder
Salt to taste

Heat 1/2tbsp oil in a pan and add the tadka ingredients, except salt, one by one in the order listed. As the roasting spices begin to give off their aromas, add the onions. Sauté till transparent and add the potatoes. Cover and cook for ten minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes. Cook for another five minutes.
Add salt and water to cover the potatoes. Close the lid and cook till the tomatoes are mushy and the potatoes are done.

Aug 10, 2009

How to link another blog on your post

For the veteran blogger and those who deal with software, this post is not of any interest. This is for those who, like me, are new bloggers and do not know how to link a blog or website you mention in your post by just clicking on a name. I searched and looked for a way to do this for a long time before I stumbled on the html code that would allow me to do this.
To link to another site by a word you need to add the code when you load your document in the compose mode of blogger.
For example, I want to link one of my blog entries, say Watching Weight and a craving, I would click on that entry and copy the URL that is on the top of the screen.
Then this is code I would write, which I could show you only in the click of the post before I published it. The word Methi Dal would appear like this: Methi Dal
I hope I have explained the code coherently enough. If not the photo should do it.
Let me know if I need to clarify or explain any other details. Those of you who are more adept in computer languages, do let me know if there is another way to do this.

Aug 9, 2009

Watching weight and a craving

Dal Methi (Lentils with fenugreek leaves)

As relaxing as my vacation in Atlanta was the side effect of uninterrupted reading and gorging on delicious cooked food was bound to result in my gaining two pounds in five days. As some of you know from my earlier post I had put on a few pounds while in India and had managed to shed, well, exactly two pounds before gaining them back. Now, I am up four pounds since I lost two pounds and up six before I went to India. Confused? Let me break it down.
Before India trip: 114 lbs
After India trip: 118 lbs
Lost in two months: 2 lbs
Gained in two month: 2 lbs
Before Atlanta trip: 118 lbs
After Atlanta trip: 120 lbs
Need to lose: 120 lbs – 114 lbs = 6 lbs
Now, I know six pounds may not seem like a lot to blog about but when you are 5ft1” and approaching 36 in a matter of weeks, the scales move slowly and the clothes either hang too lose or too tight for comfort.
It doesn’t help that I have stubbed my little pinky on my foot not once but three times in the last four weeks. That means no closed shoes or sneakers and no gym. Tushar has come to the rescue again and suggested I take up spinning instead of running on the treadmill. I will attempt it tomorrow and let you know how it goes.
This week’s Time magazine cover story is about how it is eating the right foods that help you lose weight and not high intensity exercise. In the event of my not being able to handle the spinning class, I will have to resort to watching what I eat. So, here are some of the rules I am going to try and stick to:

1. No sugar except my two cups of tea in the day.
2. No ice cream or chocolate.
3. No chips or store bought snacks of any kind.
4. Eat three wholesome meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
5. No snacking between meals except on dry, roasted nuts like almonds, pecans and raisins.
6. Try to include all or at least one of these -- daal(lentil) or beans, leafy and root vegetables, fiber (in the form of cereal and salads) and dairy in each meal.
7. Eat at least one fruit for dessert.

To that end I made methi daal yesterday not only because it covered clause 5 but also because I was craving the bitter taste of methi that I have come to love over the years. Also, I had two cubes left over from two months ago in the freezer and needed to finish them off before making my monthly run to the Indian grocery store.

1/2 cup toor dal
1/2 cup masoor dal (split red lentils)
2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
2 cubes of frozen methi leaves or a bunch of fresh methi leaves

For tadka:
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine (optional)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp garam masala (optional)
1 tsp asafetida powder

Combine and wash the daal under cold water two to three times. Soak in some water and keep it aside. Thaw the methi leaves in the microwave or wash and chop the fresh methi leaves.
Heat 1/2tbsp oil in the cooker and add the mustard seeds. As they pop, add the cumin, turmeric, asafetida, red chili powder and garam masala. Roast for a minute before adding the garlic cloves. Turn the heat on med low at this point or the garlic will burn quickly.
Add the tomatoes and let them soften before adding the methi leaves. Cook for a few minutes before adding the dal. Add salt and water before putting the lid on. Cook for two to three whistles before turning the gas off.
Note: I ate two rotis and some cucumber slices with the dal. For dessert I had a nectarine.
This delicious Dal Methi goes to My Legume Love Affair hosted by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook.

Aug 7, 2009

Seven interesting things about me for an award!

When Khaugiri nominated me for the Creative blog award, I was thrilled. For a newbie blogger, recognition from a fellow bloggers is encouraging and moral boosting. Thank you Sneha.
Like all things in life, this award too comes with rules. I have to nominate seven other bloggers and link to them. I also have to write seven interesting things about me. Nominating fellow bloggers was easy. Writing seven interesting things about me was hard. But here I go:

1. I am a day dreamer and an insomniac.
2. I love reading and worked as journalist for a Bollywood magazine called Screen and an advertising magazine called The Brief:
3. I am currently working on a short story or a long novel; I am not sure how it will end.
4. I tried my hand at painting once. I am not good at it.
5. I tried my hand at throwing pots. I was a decent potter before I stopped potting three years ago. I am planning to take it up again.
6. I had an arranged marriage (which is interesting for my non-Indian readers) and it took me four years to find Tushar.
7. As a kid I wanted to be an actress (don't we all), as a teenager I just wanted to be famous (didn’t know how, though) and as an adult I am content and happy to be a mother and a housewife, who has a blog, who writes and who pots.

Now for the seven nominations to be able to accept the award, they also have to nominate other seven bloggers, link to them and the person who nominated them, inform them and write seven interesting things about themselves. In no particular order (except for the first one) here are the nominations:

1. The first one goes, without a question, to Soul Princess who was one of my first followers. I like her blog because she gives me snippets of her life as a single girl living in Oslo, Norway. It reminds of my days as a single girl living in Bombay, India.
2. The second one goes to Dips of Centaur Cooks . We share similar paths in life, be it career or marriage or even the timing of starting our blog!
3. The third one goes to Vaishali of Holy Cow . A lot of you know her and for those who don’t, Vaishali is a vegan and a great writer. Her blog is all about cooking vegan food and her recipes turn out delicious.
4. The fourth one goes to Red Chillies for her super cool pictures and easy recipes, not to mention her blog aggregator.
5. The fifth one goes to Simran of Bombay Foodie because of whom I joined their cool book club – This book makes me Cook. It is a great way to combine two of my passions cooking and booking! Thank you Simran.
6. The sixth one goes to Anju of Anju Cooks . She is a newbie like me and I love the way she injects humor in her cooking posts.
7. The seventh nomination goes to Mints of Vadanikawalgheta . She has a neat blog with down to earth recipes in Marathi and English. I also share the common thread of throwing pots with her!
Congratulations girls.

Aug 6, 2009

The woods are dark and deep

and I have miles to go before I sleep...

My Atlanta vacation was a relaxing one with scenic walks to go pet the horses and swimming in the pool surrounded by tall woods.

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