Phases of obsessiveness

At any given point of time, if you ask me what I am up to – I will answer about something that I am deeply into, it is kind of obsession. The phases of different kind run for months at a time.

There was a time, I was obsessed about yoga & Ayurveda, I wanted to be an yoga trainer at some point in my life, I still want to but I am not putting any effort into it yet – so that is kind of ruled out. I went onto a extent of choosing a yoga institute some where in kerala and spoke to the trainer as well. All he asked me was to practice yoga everyday for at least 6 months before I consider it. Fair enough.

Similarly, I had the obsession of dances, where I ended up enrolling in multiple variety of dance classes and I did back to back sessions for one whole week, landed me with neck and back pain for 6 months.

Mean while, I was entertained by the idea of music classes, then I joined guitar, followed by piano – aah you see, I lack commitment.

Then, it was about raw food diet, it went hay way after I did juice diet for 3 straight days and only craved for cooked and unhealthy food.

Ever since i moved to this small home, I was more into organization, de-cluttering – which I still kind of hang onto. This is kind of giving me zen-ness and being free spirited.

I was also obsessed with travelling bug, I feel my life is too short and have not done enough travelling and have wasted my precious time on phone speaking to friends for hours on silliest possible topics..haha!. But, in the last 3 years, I have traveled  with in United States, South and North India, Machu Picchu in Peru, Canada – which I will soon be blogging about. Of all the things, I must say, I have enjoyed travelling, something to look forward to. It was refreshing and liberating. Not sure why. I would become productive at work during planning and post execution phase. Wonder why?

I have these phases of obsession, and sometimes it goes to extreme, some I pursue seriously, and some I leave it half-way through, any new thing I hear, I feel like I should do it. Be it writing, hiking, photography, videography, stiching, cooking, baking, painting, you name it, I must have already thought about it, if not, i will be interested in it.

If you have been reading my blog, my current obsession is to lead clutter free, organized, trash free, plastic free life and most importantly incorporate healthy with nutritional food in my diet.

One of the main reasons to start this blog is to find some passion with in me, till date, I must say i have not found any that I can proudly say – I love to do this. The search continues.

You see, obsession is indeed healthy. It will make you go out of your comfort zone and try out new things. Our brain and body needs new things to inspire self isn’t? So, do you have any obsessions or rather passionate about something? if so, what is it? I would love to know how you found it?

What’s in the age?

I am 32 and I cringe at the thought of sharing my age with any one. Why? In my school days, I was the youngest in the class until high school. Then an year break, you see, I had to get only a free admission into the engineering college. Not the brightest, but not the dumbest either. I thought I would be married any way by the time I turn 18, so why bother studying hard. The surrounding environment was such in my neighborhood. All my dad’s side of the cousins were married before 18, they have kids of my age. It did not occur to me about that my parents were so determined that I better be educated and be financially independent.

So, one year gone into studying hard and I landed in one of the very good engineering institution for bare minimum admission fee, after that, I never had to look back.  But, this one year gap, suddenly made me super conscious, that I am studying with my juniors, and every attempt to hide it only bothered me so much. Although, many of my class mates knew it, it was this un-easy feeling that I am not only the older one at home among cousins, and not-so-old but fall some where in between among my classmates, still bothered me. Till date, I still have the same age stigma. Only, my close friends, that I hang out on a regular basis know all about me. But at work, I shut myself down when my colleagues asks me my age. It does not help that my work place seems bit gossipy. But, who cares is what you may say.. i do not know why I care so much? and why it still bothers me?

I wonder why I have such strongest stigma around sharing my age? my friends grandly celebrated their 30th birthday, or some one I see 27 they announce it proudly.. but I never did that, ever since I was 17. The feeling was just so strong and I always felt older among the crew. I have had high expectations of my self too and accomplishments were important. I had set age limit to attain certain things in life. But, life is not a straight line after all, and the path everyone chooses is different. I know all of that, but I still cannot get over this. Being anonymous, makes me write my heart out here.

Is there anything you think can help me out in getting over this mind set, especially at work and with colleagues? I would love to hear what you have to say?

Lazy sundays – Fennel pesto pasta

Sunday – it is weird that I woke up early. This is prep work for my month long 5.00 am wake up challenge. And I am strongly determined to follow through my challenge for really really strong reasons that I will reveal, provided, if I succeed at it. I have 10 different things running in my mind to blog about, but I am trying to hold onto it as I have a month long commitment. Besides, I document things for my own benefit for future me to look back as I progress.

Today’s lunch – Fennel pesto pasta. I had fennel leaves from CSA farm share, not knowing what to do,  looked around the web for salad recipes and I could not find any. All of them were using Fennel bulb to make a salad and use tiny bit of fennel leaves to garnish or to add a bit of flavor. I decided to make a pesto by adding few garlic pods, walnuts and olive oil. It turned out to be pretty good.

Pesto Sauce – Ingredients

2 bunches of Fennel leaves including stalks and excluding bulb.

Walnuts – handful

Garlic pods- 4

Other main ingredients

Penne pasta

Jalapeno – 1 whole or more,  sliced into tiny pieces –

garlic pods – 4-5

Salt – per your taste buds

olive oil – 1-2 tbsp depending on your requirement.

Parsley – to garnish

Procedure

1. Put all the ingredients under Pasta sauce in a mixer and grind them to have slight texture

2. In a wok, put some olive oil – add jalapeno and garlic, slightly stir them for about a 1/2 a minute.

3. Add any other veggies like broccoli (if you prefer), tomatoes etc (I did not add any) – slightly roast them, then add pasta,  then add pesto sauce, add salt and let it cook on a high flame for about a minute.

You can add more oil or water depending on the consistency you prefer. I chose it to be bit dry.  Garnish it with parsley- and sprinkle some pepper or Parmesan cheese if you prefer and it’s ready to eat.

Here is the outcome of mine.

Pesto Pasta

Fennel pesto pasta

If you do plan to try this out – let me know how it turned out. As I mentioned earlier, it is pretty good for my taste buds. You may not like the taste of fennel..so, it entirely depends. I had it with cucumber and tomato as a side. It was delicious for me.

Tips: You can technically make pesto with any veggie you prefer as long as you like the taste, it could be with almonds and cilantro, mint-cilantro-walnut, broccoli-walnut, most common is basil pesto. It could be anything. go ahead and experiment, and let me know if you have tried anything other than traditional and turned out great? I would love to try it out.

30 Days of challenge

Finally, I have decided to take up 30 days of challenge in 3 areas.

1. Blog post everyday no matter what.

2. Waking up at 5.00 AM.

3. Home made food for lunch every day. (If I can follow #2 — #1 and #3  would be totally possible)

Are there any of you currently doing the challenge  #1? if so, do drop me a message and I will regularly check your blog posts.

If you are already wake up at 5.00 am – let me know the benefits, and how long were you able to do that? was that a challenge? I am an night owl, trying to shift the gears.

If #3, I would be interested in the simple & healthy vegetarian recipes that you make. Please share in the comments section.

OR

If you want to participate with me in any of the above challenges, I would love to hear from you. We can do it together.

Summer Salad week

With the extremely hot weather these days and no A/C in my home only craves me to have summer salads more often than I wish. In addition, I get these bi-monthly veggie share that I spoke about earlier with variety of greens and other things that makes me research more to accommodate into my diet. It does not help, if the girl that I am sharing my 1/2 veggies excludes all the things that are alien to her, and oh they are alien to me as well. Looks like, I am good with exploring and experimenting. yahoo!!

The two salads I found on youtube and tried were super delicious and really want me to try more. The sauce that goes with it, turned out to be delicious as well. These took way too less time, and hardly any cooking required for dinner was amazing. Of course, I did not have exact ingredients, but I altered it to suit my needs.

#1 –Fennel & Cucumber Salad  (substituted pine nuts with almonds, and did not add sesame seeds to the sauce)

#2- Fresh corn & Bell pepper salad (Excluded meat, chips. Included – 1/2 jalapeno pepper diced, 1/2 piece of red bell pepper, 1/2 piece of orange bell pepper, 1 and one 1/2 corn steamed,  parsley – 2-3 stems finely chopped, bit of fennel leaves since I have it already for garnishing) – kept in a fridge for 1/2 an hour before having it – it was delicious.

#3 – Rice Quinoa Salad (my version) – Lunch

Ingredients:

1. 1/2 cup Quinoa, 1/2 cup White Basmathi Rice (you can use what ever you want) – cooked in rice cooker with 1:2 ratio of water. i.e 2 cups of water was added and cooked. After it cooled down, I let it sit in fridge for couple of hours.

2. 2 english cucumbers – chopped into nice eatable chuncks.

3. 1 yellow & 1 green bell pepper – chopped

4. 1 avocado – chopped into nice small square cubes (I like the buttery flavor that this vegetable gives  – love it)

5. Green lettuce – since I have it from CSA farm share, 4-6 leaves (optional)

6. Kidney Beans – canned – 1 can slightly roasted in olive oil.

Sauce:

1 lime juice, olive oil -2 tbsp, salt and pepper

Procedure : Mix all the ingredients and sauce together – eat it fresh – so fulfilling and delicious.

Serves : 2

Some tips: You can alter the quantities, plus or minus and ingredients of what ever might work best for you. For instance, it will also go well with argula, grated carrot for some sweetness, so on so forth.

Last year, I have searched for salad recipes online rigorously. It did not occur to me that youtube is a wealth of knowledge until 2 days back for salads. Mind you, I have always looked for indian recipes in youtube, but never this salad part. I am impressed and surprised of how many varieties and simple salad recipes are available online. I feel empowered.

Since all of the ingredients are fresh from farm – I feel they are good, refreshing and healthy for our bodies.

What am I up to?

Compost – check, I have diligently composting every possible vegetable/fruit/tea-bags.

Cleaning* – yes, kitchen has been cleaned and got a lot better.  Lot of the stuff has been given away and or the things that will be useful when we have guests over are packed and shoved in the cellar.

Home prepared fresh meals – yet to achieve, I am trying but at times I just give up. Need a routine. Also, I have been looking at joining some online holistic nutrition certification course and I am very serious about it – does any of you know or suggest anything? I would greatly appreciate it. I have been looking at Institute of Integrative nutrition – anyone who did the course and give me a neutral perspective? I read a lot of blogs, but it seems more like a promotion more than how it benefited them. That makes it hard to spend so many dollars without proper insight.

Budgeting *– with compounding expenses lately with so many activities that have happened this year, a post over due to speak about how crazy it was – we are trying to cut down as much as possible. It has been challenging so far and I am determined not to give up and currently in the process of tracking every single expense, so I would know, where most of the money is spent and cut accordingly. After all, money saved is money earned.  As I mentioned earlier in one of my posts that I live pay check to pay check – that really hasn’t changed much.  The only difference have been, no debt accrued in credit cards.

Vegetables in the garden – tomato plants and fenugreek seeds were sowed, and reaped partial benefits. The weed grows faster and gardening is full blown out committed activity. Hard to keep up with jones! Sigh!

Produce very little trash: Oh, this is the hardest of all goals. I have definitely improved in composting area; ergo, it reduced the trash produced. I keep forgetting to carry the re-usable bags that I brought for this very purpose and keep accumulating lots of plastic bags.

*= indicates new goals.

My goals post

un-fancy capsule wardrobe

Just when I thought, I am done with organizing my closet and put a freeze on purchasing for 2 years, I came across an interesting website. As I still suffer from excessism (did I just invent this term??, not really, google tells me that there is quite a bit of usage of this term), this website gave me a beautiful idea.

This website un-fancy.com will help me solve my problem in some way – she is a minimalist, fashionista, not an extremist. She has her 37-piece capsule wardrobe for every season. She has a budget and buys her clothes every season if required. Once the season ends, she packs most of them away, roll over to next season or gives it away if they are bit worn out.

I just loved her concept, not that I will follow her 37 piece concept, but I liked the idea of dividing my clothes into seasons. I will take it up once I am done with high-level of de-cluttering around the home.

One step at a time. Just the concept makes me feel good about having to choose from less.