America, Bhaarath Mahaan, Eating Out, Food, life, madras, Travel

A Tale of Three Cities

I just finished making dinner (stir fry from left over rice). I have my steaming cup of lemon grass green tea and I’m listening to Frank Sinatra on loud. I haven’t felt this relaxed in weeks. I just returned from a month long trip back to the mother ship and to the flashy city of Dubai. That’s the first word that comes in to my head when I think Dubai – flashy.

My Madras vacation was amazing but it went by far too quickly it was almost like it never happened. I ate some delicious comfort food, caught up with my extra large family and met my beautiful girls. I did some shopping too although it was very restrictive because of airline rules regarding baggage (annoying!).

Madras was gorgeous, not the same as I left her but that’s a post for another day.

Dubai was flashy. I ate unhealthy amounts of food. Like really unhealthy I’m so ashamed of myself when I think about it now. I did all the usual touristy things there is to do. The one thing that always gets me about Dubai is that while its fancy and modern it has no charm to it. Maybe its just me cause I have really strong “feelings” about certain things and that’s what drives me.

California is as gorgeous as ever. Cold and windy but I love it. I love the nature and the beautiful skies that I get to see here everyday. Every time I look up at the beautiful blue sky it never fails to remind me to send a little note of thanks to Him. I love how the small things around remind me of a greater presence. I’m so thankful I live here, eat good food and have everything I need and more. We don’t need to look too far to search for the blessings in our life. Blessings are all around us.

Now that I’m done with the ‘Thought for the Day’ can we all take a moment to appreciate how friggin’ amazing Frank Sinatra sounds? Every time I listen to his deep voice I get goosebumps! If only singers are as classy now. Take a note, Justin Beibers of the world.

I will be back with more stories. Don’t miss me too much, Interwebz!

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America, Eating Out, Food, life, life lessons

Twenty four

Yesterday I turned twenty four. A year older. A year wiser? I surely hope so. I want to feel wiser and smarter but its taking me baby steps to get there. Year after year I try to work on how I present myself. I try to be a good person to others. But I forget to work on me. And me has been needing a lot of “me” time lately. For a long time I’ve struggled with the person I am. I was confused about what was expected of me. I was continuously pleasing people around me, ignoring what I wanted. By the time I could get that idea out of my head it had become a habit that was hard to shake off.

Now I am trying my hardest to take the reins of my life in my own hands. And I want to ride fast and strong. I don’t want to stop. I don’t want that number to tell me what I’m supposed to do right now. 

Here’s to a positive year with nothing but happiness and sunshine, something I need a lot of in my life right now.

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I declare October first Annual Cheesecake Day. Every year on my birthday I intend to eat a slice of cheesecake. Last year it was a Godiva chocolate cheesecake. This year – dulce de leche cheesecake with almonds and crunchy caramel bits. It was beauty in a take out box.

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America, Food, life, life lessons

Dosa and I have a wild ride.

Today was like Christmas. The tattooed FedEx employee was Santa Claus and my present was a Preethi mixie my Mama sent. I immediately tear the packaging apart and spend a minute marveling at this mixie which is everything an American blender isn’t. The mixie seals what’s for dinner – chutney and godumai dosa. I’m really excited right now as this is my first time making godumai dosa. I check hungryandexcited to brush up on the how to’s of the dosa and I’m confident enough. I make the thokku for the chutney, cool it and grind it in a second with my new Preethi mixie. I then temper it with mustard seeds and enjoy the smell of the curry leaves. Also, tempering is like my favorite part of cooking.The first few sodas are clumpy. I don’t wait too long before I flip it and it forms a paste on the tava. I don’t let that deter me, I soldier on. Finally I make soft dosas. I’m ecstatic. It’s 7.00 pm by then and husband walks in through the door, “Mmm.. You made dosa and chutney! So good!”

I beam proudly, so happy of my achievements. After we eat our spongy dosas and spicy chutney in front of the TV, I clear the table and take the dishes to the kitchen AND I SEE THAT I’VE LEFT THE STOVE ON AND THE PLASTIC DOSA FLIPPER THING HAS MELTED AND FORMED A PLASTIC GOOP ON MY BRAND NEW TAVA.

Someone please tell me how I’m going to flip my eggs tomorrow morning.

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America, Food, life, Marriage

How I Make Dinner

My experiences in grocery shopping was limited to driving my mother to the store and later, pushing around the cart while she did the shopping. After moving out (and being married) I have to do my own grocery shopping. Living in the Bay Area it isn’t hard to find an Indian store. You’ve just got to follow the saree clad Aunty and she will lead you right to it.

I love the store we go to. They always play old Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi songs. My mum listens to these songs endlessly when she cooks. So now every time I’m at the store I feel like she is next to me shouting at me for picking up the wrong tomato . The only veggies I know how to make reasonably enough are okra and potato, and the staple of any Indian kitchen onions and tomatoes. So I made them for a few weeks oblivious to the fact that there were other vegetables in the world.

One fine day we were sick of okra and potatoes. Jay was being spontaneous and picked out a random vegetable. We didn’t know what it was called. So we did a Google image search (thanks technology!) and found that it was Bottle Gourd. Another Google search later we figured out what we could do with it. And thus lunch was made.

As a novice in the kitchen, I would be right where I started if it wasn’t for technology. But I have now surpassed my own expectations. While I’m not yet a wizard in the kitchen, I can cook a tasty meal to survive. I have to give credit where credit is due and I thank all the amazing food bloggers who help me make dinner. If it weren’t for you, this household would just be a Maggi fest all day everyday. So thank you Nags from cookingandme, The Pioneer Woman and Haathi from Hungry and Excited for doing what you do.

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America, Food, life, Uncategorized

23

I turned 23 a few days ago. I managed to have a pretty good birthday in the middle of all the travelling and moving. I also had a fabulous Godiva chocolate cheesecake that was probably the highlight of my life. It’s been four days since I’ve had it and I’m experiencing withdrawal symptoms now.

I don’t want to admit it but Alhamdulillah, I’m honestly enjoying this time. After the stress of the wedding I’m enjoying spending time by myself (okay, and Jay when he is around) eating, sleeping and watching too much of the Kardashians.

Every year my birthday came around I used to get apprehensive and felt like nothing would satisfy me. But this year I didn’t feel any of those things. Maybe it was because I was busy but for the first time in a very long time I felt good about myself and that to me makes this birthday pretty awesome.

Happy birthday, Zarine, you fabulous person you!

 

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