After being MIA for almost 5 months (hadn’t realized it had been that long till right this moment!), I’m back.. Kinda sorta.. The reason for being MIA.. This precious lil cutiepie..
Meet Bebu. She was born on the 11th of March. She decided to come 2 weeks early so that her mamma wouldn’t have to waste her maternity leave sitting around the house, twiddling her thumbs. The past few months have been a joy. Before going on my leave I wondered how I would be able to stay away from work for almost 3 months. But now that I’m at the end of my maternity leave, I don’t have the slightest clue of how quickly the past few months zoomed by. Each day (and I use the term ‘day’ loosely here) brings something new alongwith it.
Luckily, I’ve had all the support that I could ask for. With my in-laws, my mom, Z and my sis-in-law, I pretty much have morphed into a lazy bum 😀 As you can imagine, that has done wonders for my weight gain agenda. I’ve finally jumped into the 3 digit weight range, comfortably maintaining my weight at 10+ lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight. Which means shopping for new clothes. Well, it has to be done, even though I hate it *wink wink*
Holidays to me mean pretty lights, Christmas carols in stores, light traffic on the roads, smiles everywhere you turn & a 10 day shutdown at work. The bay area weather gods have decided to dump rain this Christmas. That meant cookies to me 😀 I really like Martha Stewart’s recipe for chewy chocolate chip cookies. But a few years back, a friend was on a vegetarian diet for a few days. So I had to nix the eggs & I decided to replace it with bananas. That move turned out to be one those happy accidents. Now Z and my brother prefer cookies with banana. Every single time! No bananas = no cookies :/
Anyways, here we go: (tweaked from the original Martha Stewart recipe found here)
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (about 12 ounces) dark chocolate chips. Martha Stewart’s recipe asks for 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips. This isn’t a hard and fast rule. I’ve always liked dark chocolate. You can even substitute this with chocolate chunks instead of chips. The 2 cups is also completely upto you.
- 2 ripe bananas, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 325 deg.
- Mix melted butter + sugars together. I added the banana slices at this point
- Once the sugar is completely mixed in, add the eggs, vanilla extract, salt. Every recipe says you should add eggs one at a time. I didn’t understand this step for a long time, but once I tried it, it worked. Don’t skip this step. Make sure the egg is mixed in well, before you add the next.
- Add the AP flour in batches. Let it mix well, before you add the next batch. Also, do not over-mix.
- Add the chocolate chips & mix by hand. In the past I’ve added oatmeal, raisins. All of them made for pretty awesome cookies.
- Scoop the mixture using an icecream scoop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. BTW, parchment paper = godsend!
- Place it in the middle rack & bake for around 14 minutes. Martha Stewart’s recipe asks for 8-10 minutes, but in the past the ovens that I’ve had neeeded atleast 14-15 minutes for making the perfect cookie.
Last weekend we were prepping for the move to the new house. Last weekend it was super rainy here. So while we were tripping over boxes, trying to decide what stuff to take v/s what to purge, naturally I decided to take a break. So I used the rains and the cold weather as an excuse to try out this recipe that I had been thinking about. I think I found it via Pinterest. But since it was raining here, I I just knew I wanted something warm & sweet to drink. So I adapted the recipe a tiny bit.
I knew I had to do 2 things, slice the ginger super thin & hold off adding the lemon juice till the water is off the heat.
What I hadn’t planned though, was the addition of green tea. I had an unopened box of Twinings green tea in the pantry. I’m a black tea person, hence the unopened box. Luckily for me, it turned out perfect.
My work table (ignore the interim mess)
Ta-dah… Ginger-infused green tea lemonade…
- Ginger – an inch or so, sliced super thin
- 1 ct Lemon, juice
- 5 tsp sugar
- 1 tea bag green tea
- 5 cups water
- Put water to boil in a saucepan
- Once the water starts boiling, add the sugar & the tea-bag
- Let it steep for a good 5 minutes or so
- Turn of the heat and let it cool
- Add the lemon juice
- At this point, adjust the sugar level
- Pour in a glass & enjoy
It’s been ages since I posted over here. And I’ve no better excuse than the fact that other things preempted blogging. Things like work, newer opportunities, a trip to India, my brother’s wedding and a new arrival in the form of a teeny tiny baby. A baby who makes an arrival in March next year. We are super excited about this news. So life’s kinda filled with new experiences everyday.
While we look forward to our bundle of joy, the holiday season has already begun in full swing. As a family who loves to spend time in the kitchen, Thanksgiving is up high on our list of favorite holidays (as evidenced by our last year’s post). Even though I started thinking about Thanksgiving a few weeks back, it just dawned on me yesterday night that even though I’m making chicken instead of turkey this year, I still need to go & buy the bird. So I finally got down to finalizing my menu, making a grocery list before marching to Whole Foods.
My Thanksgiving menu this year:
- French Onion soup courtesy Smitten Kitchen
- Mashed Potatoes courtesy Alton Brown
- Roast chicken courtesy yours truly (recipe to follow soon)
- Chicken gravy
- Fried brussel sprouts courtesy Tracy aka Shutterbean
- Chicken wings (still deciding between 2 recipes)
- And finally, Lemon drenched lemon cake courtesy Joy the Baker
(Of all these recipes, the French Onion soup is the one that I’m worried about the most. Everything else is tried & tested. Hopefully I’ll be able to plan well, not tire myself out and make a successful Thanksgiving meal).
Today we went to a new Whole Foods. One by our new house. Oh yeah, we are moving into a new place :D.. Anywhoooo, moving on.. As every Whole Foods store, this one is in a pretty amazing neighborhood. Add the holiday season, and we felt like we belonged here. Just looking at everyone around sizing the produce on display, checking off ingredients on their shopping lists, asking the butcher for advice, all this put us in an amazing mood. My super ambitious menu didn’t seem intimidating anymore. Infact, now that I think about it, it seems pretty manageable. And it felt like this was the push that we needed to start cooking and trying out new stuff again. Who knew it was just a trip to Whole Foods away 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours!!!
I was going through my phone yesterday trying to find a good picture. But I realized that I didn’t have many. But I remember taking pictures on my phone all the time. That’s when it struck me. I stopped using Instagram!!
I just went ahead and deleted my Instagram when I first heard about the Facebook buyout. I wanted to avoid all the mess that merger was going to create. I had other apps that would let me add filters & post to twitter etc. But along the way I stopped using my phone to take pictures altogether. Instagram was (I don’t know how it looks today) an amazing app. It wasn’t about the mind-blowing pics as much as it was about sharing with a bunch of people. And it did that one thing very well. Good enough to warrant an FB acquisition offer anyways.
This is an old Instagram pic from when Z & I were finally in the same timezone after a month
To say that I kinda missed Instagram yesterday won’t be straying too far away from the truth. I missed the fact that I could click a quick picture of my lunch & have Z comment on it in the next few hours. He is a huge fan of the app. He doesn’t have the same issues with FB as I do. But I was just looking through his pictures today, & I realized that he’s stopped using the app too. If our intent is just to share the picture, why do we care what app we use? And if we aren’t using ‘the’ app, why should it stop us from whipping out our phone & capturing that moment in time? Logically it shouldn’t. But it does. Sad, but true. Maybe that’s why I have this super tiny voice in my head telling me to go back to using Instagram. Since when did an app start changing what we do as opposed to how we do it??
Sigh…. First world problems
From a recent trip to the local bookstore, I got out of the store with more than half a dozen books. This time around, a bunch of them were food essays. Like Ruth Riechl’s Comfort Me With Apples, Not Becoming My Mother and Julie Powell’s Julie & Julia (which happens to be one of my favorite movies). But as it happens usually after every book buying spree, I felt guilty about not reading all the books that I already have.
So on a saturday afternoon, I’m going through Alton Brown’s Good Eats, The Early Years. It’s technically a recipe book. But anyone who has watched even a single Good Eats episode, knows that each show, each recipe is more than just that, a recipe. It’s a whole production. And every episode ends with this AHA moment.
Anyways as I was reading the recipe for biscuits, there was this line..
The most important recipes you can collect are family recipes
I completely agree with this. There are times when I crave steamed pork buns from this small chinese restaurant or an animal style burger from In-N-Out. But, more often than not, I’m thinking about my mom’s fish curry, Z’s aaloo-gobhi or the amazing shrimp with tomato gravy that my dad makes. Since I never note down these recipes, I generally find myself calling mom when I’m just about to cook dinner. But at the end of the meal, I promise myself that I will write down the recipe before I go to sleep. But as history has proven, that never happens..
But this is why we started this blog. To document all those recipes. But we haven’t gotten around to doing that often. Juggling full time jobs and a long commute, doesn’t make for a frequently updated blog. Nor do pictures in artificial lighting. We have yet to figure out how to click good pictures (for the step-by-step instructions), and trying to get the perfect picture of the final dish when we don’t care much about plating/lighting since we just want to sit down & start eating.
Apparently the solution to these problems (#firstworld) is blogging about weekend food experiments. But I know that doesn’t ensure that we’ll end up posting regularly. So to tackle that I’ve already created a list of recipes/dishes that I think I’ll be trying out before next week. One that has to have plums since our neighbor asked us to help ourselves with the plums from the tree that branches into our backyard. My initial search through Martha Stewart’s food site & other blogs has led to a loooong list. So hopefully I’ll narrow down the list to one of them. Fingers crossed for a yummy plum jam/tart/cake/something & frequent blogging!
Z is a huge Instagram fan. That combined with his love of cooking meant that his feed is full of food-related pics. Here are a few:
Cream of Mushroom Soup
adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child et al.
Scrambled eggs, Hot dog-in-a-bun & onion bread
Grilled chicken on a bed of grilled asparagus & a side of grilled potatoes
Veggie manchurian (cauliflower, onions, cheese cottage aka paneer)
Grilled mushrooms & cottage cheese w/ beer (beer inside/around/over the mushrooms)!!
Chicken Tikka in the making
Gin + ginger ale