Thursday, December 21, 2006

off we go......

Off we go to India. It's 3 days away and I can't wait. It'll be family, friends, food and fun time. We've packed 4 bags and couple carry ons. Hopefully the crazy Indian airport people won't haggle us for money or to open our bags. That's my biggest fear... but I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Oh the food.... My belly and my heart are waiting to eat all the delicious foods. My heart's telling me this will be a great trip but the food will make me contempt because it's homemade food. We plan to eat the street vendor food, pakoras (fritters), khichadi (rice porridge), dahi vaadas (fritters made from lentils and yogurt), manchurian, Subway sandwich with Paneer and the list goes on and on.... (maybe I'll smuggle some back)

We're taking lots of gifts for everyone and bringing back just as much. The key difference is I'm taking a lot of junk, okay maybe not exactly junk per se, things that people want that is not useful here and bringing back hand sewn draperies, knicks knacks for the house, pillow cases and fun accessories to make my house even more pretty.

The husbad is excited. Finally. It's about damn time. He's so mellow; when I asked last week if he was ready to go, he said he wasn't sure yet. Crazy, I know. But this morning before leaving for work- we both agreed it's thrilling that it's almost here. We're leaving Monday but today and Monday don't count so that leaves 3 days. Bad math but it makes it more fun this way.

Have a great holiday and happy new year. If possible I'll blog about my trip while in India.

Monday, December 18, 2006

the joy of packing

this weekend was short and sweet. Friday we went out to eat at a fabulous mexican restaurant that serves wonderful food with a side of spanish tutors. Our server was a tiny Mexicana that wanted to teach the husband Spanish. By the end of dinner he learned enough to say "un burrito de pollo grande" which is what he ordered for dinner. Outside of our broken Spanish session, the food was scrumptious.

Saturday was absorbed in packing for India. It also marked an end to our shopping spree for gifts. We have 2 carry ons that we'll pack this week but other than those we are done! (India's one week away and I'm really excited. so excited that I can barely contain myself. It'll be a great time to spend with family.)

After all the packing, we went to a holiday party hosted by his company. The party was great, food wasn't. We chatted with everyone and caught up with people we hadn't seen in a while. After dinner, along with other wives, I was a little naughty and took couple shots and started feeling tipsy in no time. That lasted a good couple hours before the shots started again. The second go round, I was drunk. Fortunately I wasn't the only one that drank as much as I did. The original plan was for him to drink and for me to be DD... funny how things turned out.... I learned my lesson and I don't think it'll happen again, especially in front of coworkers. I don't think anyone minded because they were all in the same state of mind but I was and still am a little embarrassed with myself.

Sunday was recovery day. As you know, when you drink that much the next day is shot for recouping. We went to Chipotle with S & N and then came home to a long nap. It was much needed since my body hated me for the previous night. After waking up, I made the dough for my
cookies that I'm giving away for the holidays.

After dinner we went to see Festival of Lights at the Zoo with S & N. That was marvellous and worth our Sunday evening. The husband complained about forgetting his new toy at home, the handy cam.

For tonight's dinner, we're going to K's house and I told her I'd bring dessert. A great way to pack holiday presents and share, I rolled and baked the cookies this morning. A little bit of a hassle to have to get up at 5:30am to bake but hopefully it's well worth the effort.

Monday, December 04, 2006

'tis the season of giving... and going...

Everyone, especially the people that really celebrate christmas, are excited for this time of the year. It's time to give and receive presents and eat large amounts of foods. For me, it's a commercialized holiday that I am part of, sort of. Everyone around me has the holiday excitement so rather than be a party pooper, I go along for the ride. The shopping spree has begun, malls are busy, and people's blood pressures are running high. It's ho ho ho season.... I find such pleasure in knowing I will be one of the few that won't shop for christmas gifts. I will purposely use a day after Christmas to buy presents for my loved ones. Why, you may ask, because that's me. I can't handle large spaces, let alone large crowded spaces. That with the kids running wild and the grandparents taking up all the couch seating from the rest of us is a bad combination for me.

Fortunately I'll have a chance to avoid the rush and shop in India for my loved ones. Not that Christmas or ANY kind of shopping in India is any better. If anything it's worse- all year around; there are people, lots of them, crammed in the small spaces, busy shopping for this and that holiday and the traffic ringing their horns always on the go.

Regardless of the crowds and the traffic, I am excited for the trip; to spend time with family, eat homemade meals, see the changes India has made to enhance cultural, social and economic development, experience life in a changed society and most importantly appreciate its true beauty. I am proud of my country for rising from the upheavel (though it's not over) and enduring the turbulences. It has achieved a lot and is on it's way to more improvements. And we're not the only ones going... Majority of the Indian foreginers travel to India around this time to elude the cold weather and to enjoy the holiday season which starts around October.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

last night's simple dinner

last night's dinner was omelette and biscuits. The hubby and I weren't sure what we would make for dinner though we knew we wanted something quick and easy. I repeatedly told him I wanted breakfast for dinner, something along the lines of eggs, bacon and biscuit. After much thought, we decided on baked omelette with biscuits.

You need, approximately:
Turkey Bacon
onion, thinly sliced
garlic, finely chopped
roasted Turkey, sliced or cubed (great way to use leftovers)
kale (any kind of greens work)
salt & pepper
ground cumin
ground coriander
red chili flakes
1/2 bunch Green onions
8 eggs - beaten
1/4 cup milk, optional
cheddar cheese (any cheese would do, but I was going with a latin themed dinner)

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. In a seperate bowl, beat eggs with salt, pepper and milk. On medium-low heat, saut
é bacon in a medium or large sauce pan for 5 minutes. Then add garlic and onions and let the mixture cook until onions are translucent. Then add turkey to the mixture and allow to cook for 6-8 minutes, or until Turkey absorbs the mixture flavor. Add kale to the pan and stir well. Allow kale to wilt down, season with salt, pepper, ground cumin and coriander and chili flakes. Add the egg mixture to the pan and sprinkle green onion and cheese on top and cook for 5-8 minutes, until it's set on the bottom. Cover and cook for few more minutes. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until it reaches preferred consistency.
*side note, milk provided for a creamier tasting omelette.

Cook the pre made biscuits based on instructions on the back.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

post thanksgiving break

what a weekend.... a well needed vacation dissappeared in no time. It is the 4 day away from work and busy hectic life that I am talking about that I wanted to cherish and treasure. Unfortunately time flew by real fast and I am left wondering where time went. My dad came to visit from New Jersey as well as my sister, nephew and brother in law from Virginia. Weeks prior to the vacation, I was counting down days until everyone flew into town... I was yearning to see familiar faces and to hear gossip on family members.... and juicy gossip, I heard. a cousin that went to India for a year for volunteering and another that had a grand wedding. So grand that just the cocktail hour had couple dozen varieties of appetizers.

My turkey day was just perfect. I prepared roasted pepper dip (a marvelous recipe MG forwarded to me) and sun dried tomato dip
, -omitted roasted peppers because I didn't want it to be redundant. I also made my pumpkin pie crust on Tuesday evening and cut up the green beans on Wednesday night. I was as prepared as I could be for Thursday and spent minimal time in the kitchen.

Speaking of my nephew, he is the joy of my life. Even though he lives hours and hours away, when I have the opportunity to see him- it's delightful. He started talking few months ago and now tries his hardest to speak in full sentences. My favorite was on late Friday his dad asked him to change into his pajamas, he went searching for my sister through the entire house, figured she was in the bathroom, came running to tell us all that she was in the bathroom for a long potty break. Now I know that may not sound so pleasant but his broken language combined with out of order noun and verb structure made it very cute.

My first thanksgiving feast included the dips, nuts, roasted 15 lb turkey, green beans with almonds, vegetarian stuffing, shepherd's pie with soy ground meat because my sister and brother in law are vegetarians and pumpkin pie. I managed to do it all and have some time to spend with the family. I admit, I was very impressed with myself. My sister tried to help me but unfortunately the little one was distracting her enough to keep her out of the kitchen. I was glad I planned in advance and prepared things prior to allow some down time on Thursday.

My dad left early Monday morning and I was really happy. We were able to spend some time with him and discuss important (financial, are you able to survive?) matters. I am not sure why but my parents always worry about my sister and I and wonder if we're living okay. Of course we are. If we weren't we wouldn't plan a big Thanksgiving feast for all.

If last weekend didn't have enough gorging day and night, we planned a Cooking club for Saturday the 2nd. The theme is holidays of the world. It's hard to find Christmas recipes from around the world and/or holidays in December that have delicious foods.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

walk, walk for the children

Today was a wonderful day for a brisk walk, though it wasn't brisk per say. It was 5 miles all in all for Cincinnati Children's Hospital. It was enjoyable because friends like V, K and of course MG were there. A month ago I donated money to the fund raiser through A's email and didn't think much of it. Thereafter I received a pleasant email from MG asking for a donation and/or to walk for the event. The email was very inspiring as anything that MG is involved in usually is, so I decided to walk. I asked K and as always she was a good sport, as per V and the husband they were hard to convince. I had to guilt trip V into coming and he agreed. The husband was planning to come and "support" the walkers by standing on the sidelines. When he realized he would be the only one, he reconsidered. Thankfully the weather was also nice for a November weekend. Chilly at first but we all warmed up from the walking and the sun came out. We walked 5 miles, ate pizza, munched on some cookies and socialized. I had a great time and will plan to do it again next year, maybe. I have a feeling both the husband and I (as well as everyone else) will be sore tomorrow due to the lack of exercise in our daily routine. Regardless it was well worth it.

We met MG's mom that's visiting from the Philippines. She's tinier than MG if that's possible but has a big personality. MG's planning a dinner for Friday so it'll be fun to spend some one on one time with her.

After the walk, I came home and crashed. E and I were planning to go clothes shopping but D took her mattress shopping. (uhh, who does that on a saturday?) I napped for 3 hours and felt refreshed. We just finished Monster-in-law, the movie; don't watch it! I expected it to be a so-so movie because it didn't have great reviews but I still had a dash of hope. Next movie will be Mr. and Mrs. Smith (one of those other movies that I don't care to see but since the husband brought it, I won't complain).

For now it's time to get some food ready for the table and our hungry bellies.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It's November 1st, already

So this morning, I woke up freaking out because it's already November. Not bad freaking out though freaking out isn't good either. Just shocked that so much time has passed so fast. I can't say that I recall staying home any weekends in August, September and October. It was a lot of fun while it lasted though now we have to start getting busy with overdue work. November means it's close to our anniversary, thanksgiving and our trip to India............ yikes. oh the shopping... let the dreaded shopping re-begin..

I still have so much shopping and packing left for the trip. I am already overwhelmed. I love shopping but shopping for others is definitely not my forte b/c I don't know what to get for people. My in laws told me to get anything and everything for the kids. well that sounds like a great way to pack couple bags, if I knew what kids liked or wanted. I don't have kids and haven't spent more than couple hours with them to know what to get; let alone fill 2 giant suitcases for India. We bought clothes and toys, the obvious answers but now we're stuck. I told them to send me a list but unfortunately they don't know what America has to offer kids so they can't come up with a specific list.... what a dilemma...

I must say, I am really excited to spend some time with his family. The weather isn't so great these past few days. It's cloudy, rainy at times, kinda ewwy which never makes for a good work week. I am really glad it's Wednesday and not Monday. Work's been ehhhhh... A lot of pressure from here and there, with this and that deadlines but I'm managing, I think. A little stressed and overwhelmed at times but it wouldn't be work without it.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

enjoying myself....

These past few weeks have been somewhat crazy. The ups and a sudden down haven't helped but my friends certainly have been very supportive and fun. E & I have been going to the gym regularly in the past couple weeks. I am proud us.

Recently I've been cooking food I didn't have the time or energy to make on work night. Here's my chai (Indian tea) and corncake brunch.

This is how street vendors serve chai in India. It is believed that street vendors make the best chai. And they serve it in glasses one half - three quarter full. Working people often take afternoon chai breaks. It made me think of home and India's charm. Other than chai, there is always some kind of delicious food found on the streets. A good way to tell is to look at the lines/number of people at the stands. I got the corncake recipe from
Domestic Goddess. She suggests adding red pepper flakes, I think the flakes enriched the taste. Instead of hot sauce or syrup, I added the cilantro chutney for taste and dipping. I am a dipper. haha

Thereafter on Saturday, E & D came over for an Indian dinner. I'll have to get some pictures from E to post on here. We chose Indian theme because E wanted to learn a good chicken curry recipe. It was tasty. Along with chicken curry, E made the Samosa filling and the dough at home. Finally, I made Mango Lassi for dessert. (a drink made from mango, milk, yoghurt, and sugar) After dinner, we played spades. Ladies vs. Men. Unfortunately with a very close finish, the men beat us by 15 points.

Since then I've applied to few positions and have gotten couple calls for interviews. I had an interview with a company downtown so I hope that comes through. I also applied to EES and am praying for a call. That position is exactly what I want to do in my professional career.

This past Sunday, I dropped the husband off at the airport. He left to go to a conference in Charlottesville, VA for a week. It was exciting when he first told me because that's where I grew up. It's home. When my family and I were there it was a midsize college town, rated one of the best- because it is; especially in the fall. It's my first time being alone in the house. The first couple nights it was weird but I am okay now. Thankfully I've met up with E, D and plan to meet with A so the week will go by in no time.

One evening, I made chicken florentine with spaghetti and tomato cream sauce.

The filling was made from sauted shallots, garlic, spinach, dried oregano, feta, salt & pepper. After pounding out chicken, I stuffed it with the filling. As you can see; it wasn't wrapped as well as it should have but I didn't mind it. The tomato cream sauce is made from a bechamel sauce- cook butter & flour on med- low heat until the mixture starts to smell nutty. After the flour cooks, I added half & half and broth stirring constantly for a lighter sauce. You can add any one of these or combination of any two; heavy cream, broth, half & half, whole milk. Overall, it was really good however I would make a different sauce with the pasta. There were a lot of great flavors but unfortunately they were all overbearing. The cream sauce would be excellent as a stand alone and same with the stuffed chicken.

Since these are my days to treat myself, I also made a mocha frappuccino. I used instant coffee powder with hot water, milk, sugar & ice. I blended all of it together and served it with dark chocolate. The only change I'd make is add more milk for a creamier taste.

Yesterday, I thought long and hard about something; staying at home isn't feasible for me. I have to be out and about, meet people, do something with my life. From that thought I searched volunteer opportunities and came across dress for success. It's a non profit organization that helps women get back in the work force. Coaches women on dressing professionally for interviews and pushes them to secure an interview as well as a job. The woman I spoke with told me I could come in Monday to discuss different positions. If that goes well, I'll be happy to be doing something with myself. I am starting to get bored and TV isn't as entertaining anymore. I'll know for sure next week.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

it was a night full of socializing

Today was a busy but very nice day. I was able to meet up with different friends and run into old ones for a change. After the interview at a community developing company (if I get the job; I'll explain later), I went out to have coffee with one of my favorites. Then I came home and made gherkin dish for the husband and his coworker. His coworker, is living a bachelor's life because the wife is visiting India for 3 months. Poor guy, I am sure he's living on bread and butter. The cooking had to be rushed because I was meeting BP & her sister for drinks. That was fun and consisted of lots of venting. I complained about my previous employer and their acts of discrimination against me. I can't prove it but it's probable. I had a small cup of chicken chili at Mulligan's and was overstuffed. I ran into some of the husband's coworkers at the bar and spoke to them about life. Thereafter I came home to watch Big Brother (bad bad reality tv, I know) Kaysar was voted back in the house for Big Brother all stars. I am glad they have Janelle & Howie back also. I received a text from my bestest friend in the whole world, TB in DC, "Go Kaysar" Thanks! :)

After overeating at Mulligan's, I even had dinner at home. I always do that. eat more than I should but it's so tempting. For those of you that are wondering, gherkin is part of the cucumber family. we don't pickle them.

Gherkin, Indian way

Vegetable oil
1 lb Gherkins, thinly sliced
1 small potato, thinly sliced (optional)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chili powder

In a large pan, add vegetable oil, and heat mustard seeds. When they start popping, add gherkins (if using, potatoes, add those first). Then add turmeric, chili powder and salt. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Serve with Roti.

A friend and I were talking online about new blogs. We're planning a new project in which we'd co-create and co author a new blog full of recipes and foods. Since we both have a passion for food, we agreed this would be a good start to our career in the food business. This would also involve taking wonderful photographs of our food and posting it for the world to appreciate. We'll see where that takes us....

Monday, April 17, 2006

april 14th weekend

This past weekend was one of the best weekends in a long time. Friday, I was being a pooper and got angry with him for no reason at all. I was upset at the weather and took it out the husband. He doesn't deserve it at all I know, but sometimes I get so frustrated, I end up taking it out on him. I am sorry. After the fiasco, we went to a friend's anniversary party. It started at 10 and went through until 1. Who has a anniversary party at 10? In their defense, it was a Friday and the actual date was Saturday. But regardless, I thought it was pointless to have it that late. The party was alright. They had pizza (which I don't dislike) but it was from Papa John's (eww) & the hosts had someone else pay for it and pick it up. How rude! I doubt I'll be attending any of their parties anytime soon. ODD PEOPLE!

On Saturday I woke up at 11 because we came home late. It was wonderful sleeping in so late and relaxing with a book cuddled up in my bed. I love Saturday & Sunday mornings. I can sleep in, eat late, do whatever I please. I started to cook at 1PM after a long breakfast. I started with shami kababs and vegetables in coconut gravy/curry. I assembled the kabab mixture and baked them right before the party. I also made coconut curry and that was a hit. EB made palak paneer (Spinach with cottage-like cheese cubes) & aloo tikki. She's a wonderful Indian cook, even though she's not Indian. She's got a hand for cooking and following recipes to the tee. T made parathas & mango ice cream. That was really good. N & S came and had a great time also. I am looking forward to the next one.

life is good....

Monday, April 10, 2006

shopping galore

This past weekend, the husband & I went clothes shopping. We went to an outlet mall that is close to our house. I didn't find as many deals as I would have hoped, but we found cute kids clothes for our neices & nephews. Since we're planning a trip to India this winter, we need to get a head start on the shopping.

As much as I used to love shopping, it just isn't my thing anymore, especially if it isn't for food. :) I'm shopped out. I should be okay, until the fall.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

my birthday present from him

My wonderful husband bought me tickets to go see Coldplay for my birthday. He really took the time to plan for this one. We left at 2 on Monday, 3/20, and reached A's house for a break and dinner. We ate at Cafe 56 and headed to the Arena at 7:30. As the security walked us to our seats, I was screaming, hugging, kissing, and jumping up and down because we were 15 rows from the stage. I was going to be that much closer to Chris serenading to me. When we arrived Richard Ashcroft, he’s famous for Sweet Symphony, was performing. Funny guy, made jokes about how the president was visiting Cleveland and screwed with his plan. (and I screamed, BUSH SUCKS, as he does!! Mind you, if given the opportunity to bash the president, I am there!) Ashcroft was on for 45 minutes and thereafter Coldplay crew set up the stage. I don't think I've ever been so excited to hear Coldplay. When the music started, everyone cheered, screamed, jumped up and down, myself included. Towards the end of ‘til kingdom come, he dedicated the song to Johnny Cash because they were supposed to have a duet together before his passing. After the dedication he said “I wrote ‘til kingdom come for Johnny Cash, as June wrote this for him” and sang part of Ring of fire. Everyone was surprised and impressed at how well he sang it.

Overall, the show was worth seeing. They write and play great music and of course Chris Martin is a good looking man. After seeing them live last year at HFStival, I knew I would make it a point to see them again, live. Words will never describe how thankful I am to the husband for a wonderful gift.

With the overwhelming love he shows me, this is nothing for him, but means the world to me. Thanks, I love you!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

friends, family and fun

This has been long overdue for me. I have wanted and needed to blog and vent for days but haven't had the chance to, so here I am. While I was visiting DC last week, my college made it to the Sweet 16, Elite 8 and even to the Final four. That was one of the most exciting things that could happen because they were an underdog. No one expected them to make it to the the Final Four so when they beat a top ranked school, everyone was shocked. I watched the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games at friends place in VA and had the best time of my life. A, one of TB's close friends, had a house party at his place for one of the games and that was fun.

It amazes me that I've had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people during college. AV was awesome, as always. Looked gorgeous as she always does but even more so because she had this aura about her. I am not sure if it was her or if it was her gloating about having a wonderful bf glued to her the whole time we were there. I couldn't think about AV without thinking about V. My entire week with TB was worthy and unforgettable. She has an excellent apartment in the city and works couple blocks away. I am truly happy for her and pleased to say that this is just the beginning of many of her great adventures to come. She hosted like a great friend she is, and treated me to some delicious food. She treated me to good pizza and that's more than I could have asked for. She's one of the greatest people I know and I am very proud and fortunate to have a friend like her. There are some people that make life worth living; she is certainly one of them. I guess at this point, anyone else would say what are good friends for. Now it's her turn to come visit and I hope she comes soon.

I met up with the some other girls at a bad FRANCHISED restaurant on the Baltimore Harbor. The restaurant has no class and the food is probably worse than fast food. The name rhymes with sleazecake factory. Ahh what a horrible experience. I can't believe I was forced to go there. I had a suggestion to go to a tapas place, directly above this restaurant. They offered lots of vegetarian options and she wouldn't have had any trouble but of course she didn't budge. The dinner was okay, just okay. Outside of that, I had a great time with all the friends. One friend in particular has lost more weight than normal and I don't necessarily agree with it, but she didn't want others' opinions. Sometimes for people that are so stubborn, you have to allow them to be left alone until they learn on their own that anorexia is a disease.

I was able to spend time with my cute little nephew and that was great. He's growing up so much, so fast; time flies when it comes to little kids growing up. The last time I saw him, it was his first birthday. That was fun, but at the time he was much more whinier, crankier, needy, and loud. Now he's walking or in this case, running everywhere, wants to be his own person, won't allow anyone to feed him, needs 'alone' time. My sister told the doctor the changes everyone sees in him and the doctor clarified that this is the time when kids feel mature and want to be their own person. I hope my sister takes something away from that lesson and lets my nephew make some of his own choices, allows him to eat his own food, play on his own.

After some great days in DC, I headed north, to South Jersey better known as dirty jersey. I made a trip out there for couple days to spend some time with my parents. Ever since Christmas (which was the last time we saw them) they kept asking me about visting them. Spending time with them was fun but being away from the husband for so long was taking its toll on me. I missed him. It was the first time we had been apart since we moved in together so I was ready to be home again. I have a wonderful house here, my space and I was ready to be in it again.

The journey was long from NJ to home but worth it. I reminisced about my trip. I also had my Sirius radio with me so that helped. Listened to some really good music for long long time. One song that sticks out in my head is "be gentle with me" I had never heard of Boy Least Likely to.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

what a fun weekend

On Thursday last week, E came over to make sugar cookies for St. Patty's day. She brought her mixer and we made about 65 sugar cookies. After the dough was made for the cookies, we made delicious but not green enough icing. We mixed dried egg whites (I think?) with confectioner sugar in the mixer and added 2-3 drops of green food coloring. That was just the beginning because by the end, we had added half of the food coloring to attain the deep forest green color, which we couldn't. To move the process along, we had an assembly line. I rolled out the dough, baked the cookies and E was in charge of icing and sprinkling them with sprinkles. It took few hours to make the cookies but they were totally worth it. They tasted really well. Hats off to Alton Brown for a great sugar cookie recipe. The husband, E & I all agreed that the sugar cookies weren't too sweet so that made them taste much better. For that matter, all of the Friday night guests said the same thing about the cookies. They were thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

The next day, we had a farewell party for NG and celebrated the Irish holiday. We invited about 12 people and they all showed. It's always good to have a full house at the party. Fortunately it was potluck therefore I didn't have a lot to make on my own. I made aloo tikki, deviled eggs for appetizers. N & S came early to help with early preparation and to hang out before it got too loud. N & I made pulao, which was succulent. Some friends brought chicken dow pyaza, mutter paneer & chicken tandoori. All very tasty. Although I had never heard of chicken dow pyaza, it was one of my favorite chicken dishes. Someone brought a huge bottle of Jack Daniels. One of our friends from Cleveland, AS brought beer, lots and lots of beer. I think he was under the assumption that the party was for the entire weekend. :) I must admit out of all of the husband's friends I enjoy AS' company the most. He really knows how to have a good time, makes jokes and appreciates life to the fullest.

That Saturday, it was a girls night out to celebrate my birthday. I was really excited to invite E, N, & B for the birthday dinner at Cactus Pear. Cactus Pear is one of my favorite southwestern/Mexican restaurant in the area we live in. It's owned by an Indian guy who also owns some Indian restaurant in the city. It has a modern flare but the food has the fusion kick. E & I shared portabella & Caribbean chicken fajitas. I liked the chicken but I loved the mushroom fajitas. We also ordered a pitcher of margaritas and everyone enjoyed them. Even N, who hasn't had a lot to drink in her life, had a glass. I think she said this was her second time drinking, ever. Not that I am a big alcoholic, but I couldn't imagine going so long without having a drink, or at least trying alcohol. I think this reflects her young years. She grew up with a very conservative family where even eggs are forbidden. B got me a plant that she had in her backyard. I have to plant it in mine to see what it is. I hope it isn't anything illegal. ;) E bought me a crockpot, which I've wanted for months. It'll be great to have especially now that I have a job so I can cook something all day just to have it ready when we both come home from work. N gave me an authentic Rajasthani (from Rajasthan, a state in India) necklace with earrings and a bracelet to wear with American clothes. I was really pleased with everyone's gifts. I am truly grateful to have good friends like them.

That Sunday, we went to N & S' place for lunch and then to J & B's (friends of E& D’s) place for our cooking club. Fortunately I didn't have to make anything for lunch so I had some time to prepare food for the evening. I made stuffed cabbage which I think was a hit. Everyone was pleased to know that I stuffed my cabbage with lamb, rice, onions, garlic, green peppers & celery. Since it was a Hungarian/ Eastern European dinner, I used lots and lots of Hungarian paprika. I also made browned onion kugels. E, one great cook that she is, prepared potato & cheese pierogies along with mushroom & lamb pierogies. She really put the time and effort into them, and it showed because they were simply delicious. B made chicken paprikash which was really good and had a little taste of Indian spices. The husband and I agreed that was really impressive, however we weren't as impressed with the dumplings that go with the paprikash. They were too doughy for us. As always T prepared yummy cookies and black forest cake that wasn't heavy. Heavy in the sense that it didn't make you feel full/stuffed after the first bite. The cake was rich in taste but very light, just how I think black forest cakes should be. T is a great cook but she's amazing when it comes to desserts. She has a niche for making impressive desserts. During dinner at J & B's place, we finalized that the next cooking club will be at our place since the theme is Indian food. Excited might be an understatement.

All in all, the entire weekend was great fun.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

the 2 e's, exhausted and excited

So it's late on a Wednesday. I had my interview with Kroger today at 1:30. For the interview, I woke up fairly early, 9:45, ok that's early for me. I've gotten so used to sleeping at 1am and waking up after 10:30, I am going to regret staring work. After waking up, I had my favorite breakfast, milk & cereal (simple, just the way I like it). Thereafter I researched Kroger and its background so I could throw out some important information I learned during the interview. Prior to my interview with BP, I had to fill out a 20 page (or at least it seemed liked) application for the company. In my opinion, the questions were ridiculous. She asked me couple questions about my experience and why I left my previous job. Then the talking began.... She talked, talked, talked, and talked some more. She told me all the responsibilities for the position. It all sounded really well until she dropped the salary bomb. The number of responsibilities she listed, I would have hoped for a higher salary for this position. Some of the responsibilities include recruiting (which I love), training/orientation (I can handle), payroll (eh...) and signs. At this point I said to myself, signs? What does she mean signs? Before I could ask her to explain, she took it upon herself to explain. Every week, this person would have to post signs in different departments. i.e Sale on a pound of tomatoes or, sale on the Toilet Roles. interesting, I thought but certainly not impressive. But than again, every job comes with its pros and cons. By the end of the long interview, I wasn't sure if I was impressed with the position or the woman speaking with me. But who knows maybe she felt the same about me.

Since I had eaten breakfast and didn't have anything in my tummy, by the time I got home at 4 I had a giant headache. I was hoping after eating some food, the headache would go away but that wasn't the case. I ate chicken, chips and yogurt but nothing helped. Headache or no headache, I had to get some work done. This involved researching Hungarian/Eastern European recipes for this weekend's cooking club. The theme is Hungarian food because one of the hosts (J) is 3rd or 4th generation Hungarian. I hear he's very prideful about his culture and food when questioned. So I found the following recipes, which I hope everyone is as pleased with as I am. I've always wanted stuffed cabbage and through my research found that Hungarians love their stuffed cabbage. So here it is,
Stuffed Cabbage Martha Stewart Style. Google rocks, because I found another gggggrreeat recipe for stuffed cabbage. It's by a hungarian woman (I think) and sounds authentic. So combining the two, stuffed cabbage will be my main dish for Sunday. The other two recipes I found were on epicurious. I'm impressed with the following recipes because they both look and sound very very appetizing. Brown Onion Kugels, for those of you that don't know (I didn't either), are a baked pudding of noodles or potatoes, eggs, and seasonings, traditionally eaten by Jews on the Sabbath. I'm really excited about the kugels because even the reviewers had positive ratings. Finally, I am making these delicious hazelnut cookies. That's tenative because I am not sure how tired I will be on Sunday. I've got a busy weekend ahead of me so, we'll see.

So after a long and busy (somewhat) day, I am exhausted but I am also very excited. Tomorrow's a fun filled day for me. E, a close friend, is coming over in the morning, so we can have lunch buffet at an Indian restaurant, shop at Jungle Jim's for all of our cooking needs AND come home to make St. Patrick's Day sugar cookies for Friday. March 17th as most of you know is St. Patty's day so everything must be green.

We're having a farewell party for one of our friends and celebrating St. Patty's day on Friday. It's not just a party, it's a Keg party. I never knew I'd say this but I'm married and having a keg party. I love it! ::big smirk::

For now, spending alone time with my one and only. Night

Monday, March 13, 2006


So, this is my first posting after getting a blogspot. I posted and reposted many blogs to find that none of my pages were being updated. The husband tried to find new ways to fix the problem but he couldn't resolve it either. Finally, he suggested to delete the cookies and cache, and it worked! Andddd my blog is finally up and running!

I am really excited, however it's late and I have to get to bed soon. I will certainly make the most of my blogspot but I always welcome reviews, critisms (constructive) and comments. A new person always benefits from suggestions on how something works. I am also open to meeting like minded bloggers.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Liberal Foodie

The Background
I was raised in both India and the US. Growing up, my mom despised cooking. It was something expected of her, never a source of joy. For most, a mom in the kitchen full time would conjure up fond memories of delicious smells and big dinners and family secrets. I didn't learn a thing about boiling rice or spice combinations or those miraculous ingredients that make a generic recipe a family heirloom.

Horrible cafeteria food, ramen noodles and TV dinners during my first year of college inspired me to try my hand at cooking… and I have been hooked ever since. My passion is to cook and share the results with those around me. I am delighted most while cooking in my kitchen or even just thinking about food. My dream is to be the head cook at my very own restaurant in a culturally and gastronomically diverse city.

The Blog
This is a way to record recipes I've tested from places of inspiration including cookbooks, family recipes I've scored from various Aunties, the Internets and anything in between. These recipes will become the foundation of a future (and probably award-winning) establishment that will allow me to share my passion with others. Here is where you, my dear and loyal reader, come in - I need your suggestions and feedback! If something looks gross or you adore any of the recipes you see here, please email me ( or leave comments. If you have family secrets to give a dish the oomph factor, please share those as well.

The Name
Liberal Foodie comes from various areas of my life. One of which is in cooking; I use recipes as a guide to my dishes and liberally add ingredients based on smell, looks and taste. Indians rarely cook food by measuring. And that's how I quickly learned I can't be a baker. Foodie, because I am a lover of all things food. May it be cooking favorite recipes at home, eating at local restaurants, testing kitchen gadgets or buying plateware and serving-dishes for food presentations.

And Everything Else
I am an advocate for eating local. I actively support 'mom and pop joints' and believe they deserve a fighting chance; as such you will also find restaurant reviews on here from my hardworking neighbors.

Splashed in with the food blogging, I may rant or rave about my personal life which includes the husband, a house in suburbia, traveling, entertaining, being a corporate slave, family and friends. We all know kitchens are about more than just food. Like the warmest room in my house, this blog will be a place for consumption, experimentation, commiseration, and celebration. Welcome.

Oooh, I love garlic and use it in most of my cooking, enjoy sushi and curse like a sailor.