Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Two Happy Feet & a Bowl of Couscous w/ Chickpeas, Blueberries

Ahh...a perfect warm Sunday after so many rainy days !
The beautiful red rays of the morning sun streaming through the window blinds and in the patio can't be missed. No ways ! I get perplexed looking into the maze of the solar artistry. Each day the path of sunlight into the home changes as the sun makes its seasonal trek north or south of equator. My Morning glory and Marigold pots are basking with the light. The  little windmills are swirling in circular motion. These days I wake up each day a little early just to see my plants. Its lovely to see them  bloom with first rays of sun. I stepped out on in my balcony with a tiny basket to fetch some toms and flowers. The plants are growing up and to my delight got one ripe red tomato for thought too. The strawberry plant is going away, may be to let blueberries usher. Its a joyful activity of picking  fresh bell peppers and herbs, just straight from the pots and making a dish. The smell of wet soil, freshly watered plants is just magical to set the day in motion.  I have something to share. This time I experimented with sowing cardamom seeds and kumquats. To my utter surprise the shoots are coming out. So happy, lets wait and watch if I do get few pods and tiny fruits to savor some day. Later I floated the fresh flowers with tea lights in my living room brimming with golden radiance of the sun.
The day started on a happy note but still I don't intend to cook much. The warm and lazy rays of the afternoon sun, beckons me to stretch out like a cat and take a nap. I just wanna curl up on a couch and  relax and unwind.... ! 
What to do now........... ??? 
No plans for the day and want to let it pass on a lighter note. After whiling away for some time, I switched on the television and started watching 'Happy Feet Two'Now,  I'm a big fan of this beautiful movie about 'team work and joy of being yourself'.

 I don't believe that if I shall be ever fascinated with the happiness spirit  of the penguin family. 
But I actually did and loved it ! This made me pull out the happy penguin picture, which I captured on my last visit to the Central Park Zoo. 

Penguins of Central Park Zoo

Some days its just good to roll back and explore the wonders of the world. I made myself a hearty bowl of 'Couscous seasoned with spicy chickpeas, sweet berries and roasted potatoes with lots of coriander' whilst I enjoyed the movie. I just discovered this couscous recipe couple of months ago on foodbuzz. I fell in love with couscous as its just made for people like me, simple no oil recipe made in almost no time. Its so much fun to play with the seasoning, add anything and it floats with it.  

Check out the Wonder No Oil Recipe here !

Couscous: 1 cup
Seasoned Chickpeas: 1 cup (canned or freshly boiled, seasoned to taste)
Blueberries: 1/4 cup
Coriander: a lot of finely chopped twigs
Tomato: 1, finely chopped (I used my garden fresh)
Roasted Potatoes: 1/4 cup (diced into small cubes and roasted with spices)
Salt, Pepper to taste

Soak a cup of couscous in 11/4 cup of warm water for 5 to 7 minutes as per the instructions on the box.
Take one cup of Boiled chickpeas and bring it to a room temperature, else open a can of chickpeas.
In a pan, lightly roast a potato and again season with a pinch of spices.
Season it with salt, a dash of pepper, spices and finely chopped coriander.
In another bowl keep one chopped tomato and washed blueberries handy.

Just toss all the ingredients together and gently mix with a fork.
A hearty bowl of couscous with spicy chickpeas and sweet blueberries is ready to roll out !!!

Its too good to eat, so fulfilling, loved this bowl full of healthy and nutritive ingredients. 

So follow the sun and relax yourself with this comforting bowl of couscous. 
No wonder it has been on my favourite breakfast menu from so long... !

Sunday, June 17, 2012

...For a Dad who Rocked My Cradle to My World !

I wish Happy Fathers Day to all the Happy Dads in the Happy World of Happy Kids !!! 
It's a short & sweet story of mine meeting with Four wonderful guys in my life. I know the first one, my pa and second, my grandpa from ages. I have always looked up to my father and Grand father as a person being par excellent with a vast reservoir of knowledge and grounded values & principles in life. They have beautifully portrayed being the best parents they could to another parents in the making...The timeline begins and I met another guy, third one who was fairly rough and tough, with a Tall and handsome built. Perhaps, today is a different day. The heart beat of this macho man was almost audible to me. The face was radiating and I could see the tiny sweat drops, looking more like dew drops on his forehead. The moment was intense and so were the interplay of emotions. I think he was getting too emotional, yet refrained from showing it off. I saw an all together different person standing across the table from the person I knew. After a while, the doctor broke the news about the arrival of the baby. After becoming 'a father' I saw and met a new guy in the hubby dear, a wonderful Dad, very unlike this time before...! 

Once the baby came, both of us mirrored the same gush of feeling 'thrilled and contended' on seeing a very quiet & serene face. And here I met the fourth guy in my life. We started resonating his feelings and emotional makeup - always being calm and happy in our own skin. He was the first one to cuddle a real tiny tot against his giant shoulders. That day we realized how grown up and self sufficient we are. Within few seconds the little baby lied down cozily and made him comfortable on the belly and slept off. When the baby came home, he made him rest in his cradle, full of balloons, and rocked it day and night whilst humming lullabies. One day to a fine surprise, the baby stood up and started shaking his hands...then after few months he learnt his first baby steps while standing on top of his toes. And today he is rocking my whole wide world... ! 

I'm gonna cherish the times, how he learnt his first baby steps; The crazy times when he fiddle with his food and the happy times we enjoyed in doodling at his first Doodle pad; the joy of the first hay ride; to field trips of picking berries in the strawberry fields. The fun in watching him in the Halloween costume; to the pride in marching on the graduation day. I Feel, it is the story of every house and we all owe our lives to Parents and bow down to them, to share our gratitude. The parents rock the cradle and set the stage by making them the best parents in every respect, correcting the misdeeds and always encouraging to reach the pinnacle of success in personal and professional lives. And all this experiential learning, one day becomes the platform to rock the world ! Today is a special day to appreciate all the special efforts taken by all the Dads in making their family so special ! 

My personal notion of God and parents is reflected in this poem, which has always been very dear to my heart. Its very simple...If we believe in God, we believe in Parents ! No matter, we sail through happy or tough times, parents always come, becoming Elves at times and Nick at others..!

Footprints in the Sand
        One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
             Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
                  In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
                       Sometimes there two sets of footprints,
                           other times there were one set of footprints.
                                  This bothered me because I noticed
                                that during the low periods of my life,
                             when I was suffering from
                         anguish, sorrow or defeat,
                     I could see only one set of footprints.
          So I said to the Lord,
      "You promised me Lord,
         that if I followed you,
             you would walk with me always.
                   But I have noticed that during
                          the most trying periods of my life
                                 there have only been one
                                       set of footprints in the sand.
                                           Why, when I needed you most,
                                          you have not been there for me?"
                                 The Lord replied,
                          "The times when you have
                  seen only one set of footprints,
          is when I carried you."
                                                   Mary Stevenson

Got another inspiring story for all parents and kids alike from GSpirt. The message of the story is that Money doesn't make us rich  but a simple Life with rich ideas and blessings of God, surely makes us humane human beings and lead richer lifestyle.
...One day, a rich dad took his son on a trip. He wanted to show him how poor someone can be. They spent time on the farm of a poor family. On the way home, dad asked, "Did you see how poor they are? What did you learn? 

The son said; "We have one dog - they have four, we have a pool - they have rivers, we have lanterns at night - they have stars, we buy food - they grow theirs, we have walls to protect us - they have friends, we have encyclopedias - they have a Bible." Then they headed, "Thanks dad for showing me how poor we really are."

A dad has a request - No cooking today and Put the dishes away;
Don't upload the recipes today, as it is his big 'Fathers Day' ! 
A Dad always bless and today I bless Dad. 
He may always Sparkle & Shine and we may always eat together our Christmas pie !!!!! 

I really hope we keep growing the repertoire of learning from our prudent Fathers and forefathers and keep the legacy flowing !!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Life is Good with Coconuts, Ice creams or Shall I say Both !

Good Morning Folks, I have a question?
Do you all crave to "Eat Something - sometimes or most of the times" ?
I do and would rate myself quite high on scale of 1 to 10, very often. At the same time not sure exactly what I am are looking for ?... Then I close my eyes and  wish for a fairy with a magical wand to come and fill my table with the aromatic and refreshing dishes. The dish list is contingent upon the level of activity in my amygdala, sometimes feeling romantic and at times nostalgic, at times oozing out with energy and at times down with lethargy. I always wonder how these highs and lows of emotions nestle quietly in my mind. Then after a while get a straight call from the amygdala  craving for a 'typical food'. I think, its time for me to stop contemplating about my hunger waves to be in congruence or not to my mood waves and enjoy the last weave of spring. And at bottom of my heart I always want to keep the sprig of spring with me - be it summer or fall as I do get enchanted with the fresh flair of flowers, giving us ample reasons to lighten up the mood and relive our life !
Taking a break from life is good. It rejuvenates the mind and soul. Last week I took a break and went on a small vacation with family. We were thrilled to see the fresh coconut trees lined up across the streets and fresh fruits hanging like jewels on the top. the fresh coconut water served in the green shells makes it for the best summer drink. At that very moment I got the 'Aha' moment. Got the answer for a new thrilling recipe to share with 'All of You'.

Coconut Splendor...

This week I'm gonna share a recipe based on Coconut. Can you guess WHAT ?????? Initially got to make fresh coconut salsa to enjoy with idlis or Thai curry. But as the temperature touched to 80s, I was craving to have a soothing homemade dessert. After flipping through my old and new cookbooks, finally zeroed in to make a sizzling 'Coconut Ice cream'. The nutty icecream seems to be so light, fluffy, creamy, chewy yet appetizing.

Fresh Home made Coconut Ice Cream !

I got satiation only after eating the whole cup of ice cream :) , Not too bad - after all I deserve my cup after a little hard work that I did. So lets lets check out this recipe !

Coconut Milk: 2 cups
Fresh coconut : 1/2 cup (finely shredded)
Heavy cream: 1/2 cup
Splenda: 1/4 cup (for less calories, else use sugar)
Vanilla essence: few drops
A pinch of salt

Coco Goodness !

The only difficult thing in this recipe to do is peel the coconut, with a little skill and caution and take out the coconut pieces.
Wash and dry the shell to serve the ice cream or dry nuts, later.
Finely shred or chop the fresh coconut with the help of grinder.
In a bowl, open the cans of coconut milk and add splenda (or sugar to taste).
Whisk the coconut milk and sugar.
Add a pinch of salt and just few drops of vanilla essence.
Now, its time to add the freshly chopped coconut  to our mix & blend it in a blender for 3-4 mins on high speed.
Once done, pour all the ingredients in the ice cream maker and churn it for 20-25 minutes (or according to the manufacturers instructions).
On completion. transfer ice cream into an airtight container and chill it for about half an hour for it to firm up.
The wait is over and ice cream is ready to be licked and loved.......!!!!!!!!
Scoop it out and serve in coconut shell, topped with fresh mint leaves.

Mmmmm...  Fresh & Chewy !

I am so glad to see the bowl of my first successful attempt at making coconut ice cream this summer.

Closing in From the Top ...

And so determined to make it more often. Learning and cooking new recipes is an amazing way to turn an ordinary weekend to a memorable weekend with your 'loved ones'. After all, it was so simple and too delish to relish on the special weekends !!!!!!!!!

Stay tuned for my special Fathers Day Recipe, coming soon !

You may also like: -
1. Fresh Home made strawberry ice cream
2. Luscious Avocado ice cream
3. White chocolate Matka kulfi

Date & Walnut Birthday Cake!!!

Parenting is indeed a learning journey! Each day is a new day, learning and exploring the wonders of our little bundle of joy! This anecdote...