Archive | February 2017

Day 24 : Pre & Post cooking work

Our food is now greatly simplified. We just eat salads for lunch and dinner every day. The vegetables vary, dressing remains the same. The prep time is very time consuming, may be not that bad if it comes down to 2-3 hours for 3 days’ worth of food. And then packing the food in containers layering it from one of the greens , quinoa/cracked wheat/brown rice,  lentils of variety (one type every week), two steamed vegetables ( carrots, broccoli, beets, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts), I shop for veggies every 3 days so that they do not sit in the refrigerator and escape my memory. I have been diligent about that lately as I often forget and throw out the veggies. Bringing in only when I plan to cook is greatly helping me.

This obviously entails cleaning of veggies, chopping them, steaming and packing the food in containers. And all of them should be done in a day. I have also stopped using canned products that requires me to perform additional two steps of soaking a day before and cooking them. But, that is a lot of work as I am greatly un-coordinated and inefficient in the way I organize my cooking. Additionally, I make spicy peanut powder inspired by one of my favorite chef’s recipe, along with dressing. These items all combined make up for a fulfilling meal and I cannot be happier to have found something that is sustainable. The dressing which is supposed to last for 3 days usually does not. I think we overdose ourselves greatly. Still, not very bad compared to my earlier days of trying to make homemade food. Let’s just say I am able to manage and see a scope for improvement on being more efficient with my energy and time.

When I have some time and mood for cooking, I make a simple Italian, Indian or Mexican dish to satiate my taste buds or find a new recipe to play with. Then comes the cleaning part, which is where I am still struggling with, I am trying to wash them off immediately but the constraint of storing wet dishes makes it challenging. I have timed it several times, the dishes are done under 10 minutes’ tops, but motivating myself to do that work takes hours of cajoling. Additional stress if I have guests over.  And that is why, I have not been keen on inviting anyone over. Sure, we can order food outside, but it undermines the whole idea of saving when we are tight on budget. It’s any day cheaper to cook healthy meals at home than eating outside.

This is partly bragging as well as ranting about the benefits and dis-advantages of homemade meals and where I stand. Hope you have ignored all my rants and took only positive aspects. After all, in America – those added sugars, salt, canned and refrigerated goods are neither tasty nor healthy anyway.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”  ~Hippocrates

Now, your turn – speak up about your cooking adventures.

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Day 23: Resolutions review

It’s been exactly a month when I took these resolutions :

  1. Drink 2 liters of water every day.
  2. Yoga 5 times a week.
  3. De-clutter once a week at least for 20 minutes.
  4. Write on this blog at least twice a week
  5. Eat home made food unless there is no option.
  6. Treat myself when I achieve some of personal and professional goals.
  7. Read at least two books each month.

and….

I followed none. Absolutely none. It breaks my heart to over estimate my capabilities and commitments and under deliver them. It is bit in-humane for me to do it. When I make lists like these, I forget that I am a human and not a robot. I have mood swings, my physical and mental abilities have limitations and more importantly trying to outrun my laziness to manage my time efficiently. The only thing that I have been consistently trying to do is drinking 2 liters of water and that is if I make it my agenda first thing in the morning. Yes, I forget to drink water until I have these dreams where I am desperately searching for water every where waking myself up in the mid night to gulp down full bottle of water. The other thing that I have been some what successful is #5, 5 out of 7 days, meals are prepared at home, that should not be even part of resolution for that matter, it was that holiday time and I went off the track eating every meal outside.  #2 is averaging once a week and rest of them are almost not happening.

Then, why make resolutions when you cannot follow? I really like to plan, execution is a paramount problem for me, having a sizable goals is probably a good idea. But, no matter what I do, I have difficulty following it through. As the saying goes, rules are for breaking and so as resolutions are for renewing. Ok, I just made that up, the resolution part. Self-blaming does not help either and it is greatly discouraging, so please do not do that, especially if you are in the same boat as I am in not following through resolutions. So, I give up and stick to only two reasonable goals that are healthy – #1 and #5 and I seem to follow that a bit, so I continue.

If I reduce my resolutions to just to two of them, my success rate just went up drastically. So, I will just stick to it. It all made me feel better and want to eat an chocolate ice cream to celebrate myself. Speaking of which, I have been on  a hunt for satiating my chocolate ice cream by making it at home. Yes, I have been eating lots of ice cream lately and I put on so much of weight lately, putting on weight is not a problem but the limited choice of dresses to wear is the problem. So, I am in the process of cutting down that addiction. Not easy. So, I found this awesome recipe that I am planning to give it a shot. I’ll share the link when it comes out well. It looked great and we can make it at home with few ingredients. I have to wait around until my banana ripens and I could froze them. Patience is the key. Did I just went off track? Ok, I’ll stop right here and right now.

How are you all doing with your resolutions?

Day 22 : Clutches & Gifts

I went to visit a friend randomly showing up at their home to see the new born. It was long over due and this visit was totally unplanned. Anyways, towards the end, I was given a beautiful clutch as we were stepping out. As much as I love it, I did not feel good about taking the gift in the first place.

There was a time, I did not even had a wallet. Then I saw my roommate having a wallet that was so beautiful, I got something similar and held onto it for years until it started falling apart. Then I got myself a white wallet that was good enough to take it to parties and also for regular use. As it was white, it got dirty pretty quickly. Then, when I went to a mall in Mumbai, I liked all the clutches and got myself 2 of them, one for western and the other for Indian attire. Very happy until I found my large phone did not quite fit in, gave it to a cousin. Glad about one less. But, there was a party coming up and I had to buy another, instead of getting one, I got 2 of exactly same color but of different designs. They were neutral and used them quite a bit for many events and was very happy that they will be with me for eternity.

Then another 2 more wallets flowed in from my mother in law as Christmas and Birthday presents, adding upto 7, when I went to India, I gave up one of the gift to my mother and glad she put to full use. That still brings it down to 6 in hand. Then, I went to visit a friend again to see the new born (yeah, all my friends became mothers lately – that phase of life, where I am attending too many baby showers and visiting newborns and first birthdays than bachelorette parties or weddings) and then I was gifted with yet another wallet. I am not sure why everyone wants to gift me with wallets. I do not like using wallets and may be they get the impression that I do not have one and end up giving me? So where are we? – it came to 7. This time around, without further ado, without opening the present, I simply gave to my other cousin who badly needed it and she was just so happy to use it. (please do not tell my friend). Now, with yesterday’s visit to another friend of mine, she gifted me a yet another beautiful clutch, bringing it back to 7. Should I be happy that I am pampered with gifts? or rather I am sad that I get to use what other’s think are best for me than the choices I would make for myself.

Have you received unwanted or not-necessary gifts from friends and family? How do you politely decline them?. I suffer from that. Before you come to conclusions, I do not gift unless an occasion arises or there is need to gift that fulfills their desire of having that. If you were my regular follower, you know how much I avoid buying stuff and cluttering the home. These gifts that I receive from my well-meaning friends is making me avoid meeting them. How can you politely decline, when some one puts in so much of time and shops for them and gift them with all the love.

All I am left with are clutches and wallets and they are many than I wish for. You want to know how I gift people – find out what they really want and just get that with a gift receipt for them to be able to exchange to what ever they want. Or a Gift card where in they have freedom to buy regular groceries or any item that they need versus some random gifts of my choice. And more importantly, I do not have that big heart to let go of things that easily, I have a small clutch that was gifted by a friend several years ago, I have not used – not even once and yet hold onto it.