Monday, June 24, 2013

The First Week of Summer 2013

What follows is inspired by this post on Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity. I came across it this morning and realized that I had a bunch of rather random tid-bits to share today that are just right for this format. 

It is the first official week of Summer 2013 and this is what I'm...

Eating lots of peaches and watermelon.

And cooking a whole lot, although most of it is tried and tested favorites, like this menu that I put together for friends last night. Our British friend tasted slippery basil seeds for the first time (in the falooda). I laughed as he gingerly spooned some into his mouth and to my delight, he loved them.

I did try two new recipes recently...

One was this lentil and chickpea salad that came highly recommended by Archana. I promptly tried it and was glad I did. Lentils and chickpeas are combined and dressed with lemon, tahini, freshly ground cumin and coriander, and fresh herbs. I skipped the feta (can't stand it) and added a light dusting of parmesan. Sweet Vidalia onions were wonderful in my version of this salad.

I had ricotta left over from making spinach lasagna (again!) last week, and wanted to make a hostess gift to take to a friend, so I rooted around for a cake recipe that used ricotta. This lemon ricotta cake, adapted from a Giada de Laurentiis recipe, was super quick to make and gave me wonderful results.

My adaptations:
1. Add 2 tsp. vanilla extract.
2. I used part-skim ricotta and it worked fine.
3. I highly suggest dividing the batter into 2 loaf pans. People who used one loaf pan complained that the inside does not cook through. Also, then you'll have one loaf to keep and the second to share.

The fresh cake out of the oven was completely light and irresistible. After a day in the fridge, it was much denser but still very tasty, especially after being nuked for ~10 seconds to warm it up.

Watching Season 2 of Downton Abbey, a year or two after everyone else did! A friend let me borrow her DVDs so I can finally get caught up on the saga.

This weekend, we unhooked our cable box and returned it to the cable TV company with a "So long, farewell". I got sick and tired of paying for cable and then having absolutely nothing watchable on TV. Reality TV is getting too trashy even for me. We'll continue to use Internet streaming; it is such a relief to actually choose what to watch and not have to endure commercials.

There are so many excellent documentaries out there that I'd like to watch. This weekend I watched one called Pressure Cooker on Netflix. It follows a culinary arts program in a high school in a disadvantaged area of Philadelphia. A tough-as-nails teacher leads her kids through a year of tough training in culinary arts and a competition to win scholarships for further training. Even with some flaws (many of which are mentioned in this NYT review), the documentary was inspiring and uplifting. There is so much potential in all of us if only we get the right environment to flourish in, and someone who sets high standards and expectations for us. More inspiration and less Kardashians, that's what I say. Who's with me?

Reading Salman Rushdie's memoir, Joseph Anton. So far it is an engaging read. Have you read it, or read any of Rushdie's books? Here are some books I finished in the last few weeks.

Image: Goodreads
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald. This was a Happiness book club recommendation. The stories are predictable but fun to read. It will remind you of the Blyton books. The book was published in 1947, so you have to look past some of the content, like the stereotypical parental roles- Dad grunting his answers from behind the newspaper, wife bursting into tears to get her way. The formula is straight forward: child has a behavior issue- won't go to bed, won't clean his room and so on. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle finds a clever way to cure him/her and all is well. Today we would call these "consequences". Take this book at its face value and enjoy the simple stories.

Image: Goodreads
The Mind's Eye by Oliver Sacks was a very worthwhile read, as I've found all of Dr. Sacks' books to be- he is a neurologist with a deep and genuine interest in his patients, and he brings their stories to life with his beautiful writing. As we go about our daily lives, we forget that behind every little act that we take for granted- the aroma of coffee brewing, the sight of the bright red cardinal darting in the bushes, reading a book to our child- is the miracle and mystery of our brains and sense organs. His case studies chronicle individuals who lose some facet of these neurological functions and most often, cope with this loss in inspiring, creative and unique ways. I always read Dr. Sacks' books and marvel at the inner strength that we humans can tap into, should the need arise.

Making (or rather, finished making) a scarf and a mug rug for my swap partner. I won't show you pictures, because I want it to be a surprise for her.

And I made this Father's Day T shirt for V by tracing his and Lila's handprints on paper, cutting out the shapes, tracing outlines on a plain T-shirt and embroidering with colorful chain stitch. A simple, graphic way to say that Lila loves Daddy.

Loving this social entrepreneurship idea: Last week, Abhi, who is a long-time reader of One Hot Stove, told me about her project called Go Solar, Go Sewing and I'm excited to tell you about it. Abhi is a social entrepreneur and she manages a sewing unit called Vandanamu Ethical Cottons in South India.

A newspaper clipping about
Abhi's project. Click to enlarge
and read.
In Abhi's words, "At Vandanamu, my team and I source orders for cotton bags in the UK (where we are based) and produce them at our sustainably run sewing unit. All sounds good, except that lately we have been experiencing crippling 12-14 hour power cuts which makes production very difficult and slow. After some research we have decided to invest in solar panels to ensure uninterrupted power supply. And to this end, we have started a crowdfunding campaign."

Why do I love this idea? Because this is an effort to create safe and fair employment for a marginalized community, to make women economically independent and give them the means to send their kids to school. And their solution to the problem of power cuts is to take matters into their own hands and try to harness sunshine (of which there is plenty in South India, wouldn't you say?)

If we want a cleaner, happier, fairer world for ourselves and our kids, we have to be part of making that happen. Please consider sharing a bit and contributing to this worthy cause. Last week, I was working slightly late one day, and for a moment, considered picking up burritos for dinner. Then I caught myself, went home and made a khichdi in about 5 minutes (from ingredients in my well-stocked fridge) and gave the burrito money to Go Solar, Go Sewing. The point is that those of us who have the means to spend as we like can literally take a minute and spend it mindfully. I wish you and your group lots of luck, Abhi!

Looking Forward to our first summer in Georgia. We've been warned that it gets brutally hot and that people tend to huddle indoors in the daytime. I'm a girl from the tropics and I can take the heat (or so I've been bragging, anyhow, I hope I don't have to eat my words). Normally, I'm a big planner but this season, we'll take life as it comes, going on picnics, swims and walks as time and weather permits. Tasting all the seasonal produce we can along the way.

Please, if you have a few minutes, tell us in the comments what YOU are eating, watching, reading, making, loving and looking forward to. I hope this week brings you good things.

Come back next week for a legume-rich buffet as we round up MLLA-60. You have until the end of June to rush me your entries and be part of it.


  1. Nupur, you always have such fun posts for your readers. I was out of the country last week but kept checking for updates from you!
    I'm eating LOTS of good cheese since last week - visited multiple cheese factories in Holland and brought some home with me.
    Watching - Next Food Network Star & Sherlock
    Reading - The Firm by John Grisham and Lord of the Flies by William Golding
    Making - Alpaca wool hat for hubby
    Looking forward to - my in-laws coming over (and bringing lots of goodies from India) in a couple of days :)

    1. Snehal- Loved reading your list. You prompted me to out Lord of the Flies on my reading list, it is a classic that I have wanted to read for years. Sherlock- you mean the new PBS version with Benedict Cumberbatch? I enjoyed it. I don't knit with alpaca- it makes me sneeze!

      I hope your in laws have a fun visit (and that they bring suitcases bursting with goodies) :D

  2. What a wonderful post Nupur ! I had been waiting patiently for your post since morning :) These days,
    Eating: I made your/ Anupama's vatana rassa. Its a keeper! I tried makyacha kanasacha upma (vadani kaval gheta) using fresh sweet corn from farmers market and absolutely loved it.
    Reading: 'Delivery' by Diana Prusik. It is set in a small town and has a rather melancholic tone, touching on some tough events in life. So far it has been an ok read.
    Looking forward to: A beach vacation ! yay!

    1. Thanks Uma- you're so sweet to chime in! Makyacha Upma- OMG I used to love that asa kid. Thanks for reminding me, I'll have to try it ASAP with fresh corn.

      I hope you have LOTS of fun on your beach vacation- I'm a beach gal myself, spent all childhood summers on Chowpatty beach.

  3. I absolutely loved the father's day t-shirt. Such a great idea and so cute too! What I am eating and making - I am trying to eat more salads. Yesterday night was broken wheat and corn salad. And I am trying to make wind chimes from tin cans. I was really looking forward to going strawberry picking and I wasn't disappointed.

    1. Strawberry picking sounds like fun! And so does eating more salads in this season. Funny you should mention wind chimes. I saw an idea for a wind chime made with a tin can and canning rings and was thinking of trying it.

  4. Loved reading about the tid bits, Nupur. :-) I am going to steal the menu and make it myself for some friends, I know they will love it! That Father's Day T-shirt is so adorable, such a cute idea! I hope this week brings you good things too. :-)

    Here are some tid bits from me:
    Eating: Traditional Indian Food slow cooked for hours over flaming charcoals - Dum Biryani, Dal Makhani and Baingan Bharata.

    Watching: We are cable-free since 3 years and never missed it even once. We borrow dvd's from our library and browse over the internet. Currently we are watching 'Breaking Bad'.

    Reading: 'Blue shoes and Happiness', 'Trains and Lovers' both books by Alexander McCall Smith.

    Making: 'Chatti Pathiri' also known as a Malayalee Lasagna for the 4th time and baking lots of mini cakes as recipe trials for a big birthday. Doing some fun filled craft work for the same. I am really enjoying it!

    Loving: The non-stop food exchange between me and my neighbour :-) and the interesting email exchange with my swap partner for Spice 'n' Something Nice.

    Looking forward to: The Spice 'n' Nice Swap roundup and my friend's daughter's Big Birthday next month, we are more excited than the 5 year old. :-)

    - Priti

    1. Loved reading your list, Priti! So are making the slow cooked food yourself or eating it in a restaurant?? And yeah, we should have gone cable-free years ago too. But I'm glad I finally cut the cord. We'll have to think of some way to get the local news and some sports. Good luck for the Big Birthday :) and finally I have to say that Malayalee lasagna sounds altogether intriguing and tasty.

    2. We are making the slow cooked food ourselves in our little backyard, doing everything from scratch like good old times and enjoying every step. After the initial prep-work the charcoals work their magic outside, we stay cool indoors and check/stir once in a while. The results are unbeatable and very rewarding. :)

      The Malayalee Lasagna recipe we love is from the blog 'Ria's Collection' and I think it can be successfully made with veggies or paneer instead of chicken. It uses coconut milk that turns into a creamy sauce...ummm, I want some more!

      - Priti

  5. Nupur,
    My all time favorite Rushdie book is 'Haroun and the Sea of Stories'. It is wonderful storytelling. Hope you read it and it is something you can read to your little daughter when she is a little older.

    1. Ambica- I LOVE that book, in fact it is the only Rushdie book I managed to finish ;)

      I've given Haroun... as a gift to numerous kids and will definitely read it to my little one when she's older.

    2. I read your entire post at leisure and can't help adding another comment. Loved your t-shirt idea..and wanted to share a similar project my kids did. We used Ed Emberley's Fingerprint drawing book and fingerprinted a dragon with neon fabric paint on to a t-shirt for Fathers' day. I am imagining a little Lila creation with fingerprints as the centerpiece for one of your quilts...Thanks for the lovely posts Nupur, really enjoy reading your blog.

    3. I placed a hold for this book at our library. Thanks for recommending it. Can't wait to read it! :-)

      - Priti

  6. loved the hand tshirt.!!! and i love your blog..!

    1. Yep....loved the tee so much that m all set to make a similar one....a keeper!


  7. Oooh, Georgia peaches! We're eating Ontario strawberries, and the cherries arrive this week. We go through a punnet a day, and have purple tongues by bedtime... Summah!

    1. LOL yes I'm sure summer is even more of a special time in the chilly North! Georgia produces tons (literally) of peaches but word is that the ones from the Carolinas are even tastier.

  8. Are basil seeds what are used in falooda? Where do you get them? Also, what do you use for falooda sev? Falooda is easy to make but I never tried it in the US because I have been stumped at what to use for the sev and the seeds in the recipe.

    1. Yes, basil seeds are used in falooda. Falooda sev and basil seeds are both available in most well-stocked Indian stores. Ask for falooda seeds/sabja/tukmaria (these are the Hindi names as far as I know). Hope you find them!

    2. I also read somewhere that chia seeds are the same as subja / tulshi beej.

    3. Manasi- chia (Salvia hispanica) and basil (Ocimum basilicum) both belong to the family of mints but they are not the same plant. But you bring up an excellent point- maybe chia seeds (now widely available) could be used instead of basil seeds. I'll have to try this for myself.

  9. Dear Nupur, thank you for sharing our Go Solar, Go Sewing campaign in your blog. I'm Abhi's friend & colleague and a very long-time reader and a die-hard fan of your blog (and you!). As ever you've made your post so interesting with so many things to share, not just the food, but reads, knitting and everything in between...loving it and keep 'em coming. Many many thanks!

    1. Swarna- thank you for supporting me all these years!! You're so sweet! You guys are the real deal, doing meaningful things out in the world, and the least I can is mention it here and share your work. I fervently wish you success.

  10. Hi Nupur..

    That menu made me hungry really..

    Eating - a lotta cherries
    Watching - the usual stuff which is re suns of Frasier and a new episodes of The Good Wife
    Making - A simple bday card with my almost 4 year old for his dad ..
    Reading - like a zillion cookbooks that I have borrowed from the local library..I should stick to one.
    Looking forward to our upcoming trip to India..hoping there are still some mangoes left..!
    And I am compiling the post for MLLA...will be sending it to you soon..

    1. Thanks for chiming in, Shruti! The Good Wife- have heard good things about this series- maybe I'll watch it this summer if Netflix has it. And I hear ya about the cookbooks- they overwhelm me if I bring home more than one at a time.

      Have a fantastic trip to India! And I look forward to your MLLA post.

  11. Thank you for your most wonderful write-up about our social enterprise, Nupur. I am most touched. We are 99% Smiles and 1% Sweat because of the support we enjoy from people like you.

    Thank you also for your kind donation.



    p.s. my list: reading Schindler's Ark, eating Rosecoco bean rajma, watching Long Lost Family (tonight!) on ITV and 'India is a visual journey' series of short films on youtube and making...I've fallen behind in my spice-swap schedule, must rectify that soon.

    1. Abhi- I'm so glad you told me about your project! I love what you're doing. It takes a very special kind of dedication to take on these projects with tough challenges and worthwhile pay-offs, and for that I applaud you.

      Have fun finishing up the spice swap! I just mailed out my package this afternoon, a couple days late but oh well, it is on its way.

      Long Lost Family sounds like a compelling series- I love me some British TV.

  12. Loved reading your list as always Nupur. You have a beautiful way with words - making the simple things we do in life more meaningful.
    My list -
    Reading - 'Marriage plot' by Jeffrey Eugenides. I read his 'Virgin suicides' and though I don't like to read another book by the same author so quickly, I loved his writing style enough to break my own rule.
    Eating - green garlic. Goodness I wait for their short season here so I can stock up. Made a khamang chutney and a green garlic pasta. No vampires for miles thank you :)
    Enjoying - exercise everyday! Walking for an hour or my absolute favorite, zumba.

    1. You are my HERO!! Exercise everyday is something I've aspired to do for years, decades even but it is a hard habit for me to form. These days I try to take a walk every evening after dinner. Zumba sounds like fun!

      I enjoyed Middlesex by Eugenides and will have to look for his other books that you mentioned. Oh, and I love green garlic, especially in scrambled eggs. Haven't tasted it in ages though.

  13. Oh brutal summer !I wish it was over.
    I am planning a lot of fruit ( including mango, of which we have plenty here) and 'taak'. And yes, I will huddle indoors. Temps here have reached 100F and it is officially migraine season for me.

    The tee is great! lookit Lila's li'll hand! muah!

    We opted for cable this year and I am not happy about it, most of the time S watches cartoons and I am of the opinion, they are better than the trash on other channels ( 'cep Food network and HGTV- but these are re-runs- over and over and over, sigh)

    I am reading 'Oath of the Vayuputras' by Amish, it is the last of the Shiva Trilogy. I was impressed by the first 2,but for some reason, the last book is not as engaging... i feel disappointed.
    I have read Haroun and the sea of stories too and loved it! I hope one day, S will like it as much as I do.
    And Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, isn't she sweet!? I have read all the books in that series.
    I just finished reading 'The Faraway Tree'- enid blyton. Every now and then, I like to read a Blyton, makes me happy!

    I just finished watching season 4 of 'Drop dead Diva'.

    I kind of started watching ( 20-25 mins.)the new 'Himmatwala' and oh god! what a horrid movie, gave me a migraine, not joking.. really! Must be the heat that made me even opt for it in the first place. S_ _ _ _ happens.

    I have nice recipe bookmarked for MLLA. I hope I can meet the dead line.

    1. :( oh yeah, TX and GA have that in common- brutal summers, although you probably have it worse. Stay cool and healthy!

      Yeah, tracing Lila's wee hand made me realize how quickly she's growing up.

      I got nostalgic for Blyton and requested one of her books from the library-let's see if I still like her, decades after first reading her books.

      Cartoons are a childhood treat for sure but you know what I hate, the relentless ads peddling crap to kids. I'd rather put on a cartoon on Netflix or DVD for that reason alone.

    2. I loved 'The Magic of Faraway Tree' as a kid. Oh I adored the entire Enchanted Tree series and I was very lucky to receive this on a Birthday! I was more facinated by Magic and pretend-play than suspense so I read and re-read these and imagined having such fun adventures.

      I remember thinking up of all sorts of 'land on clouds' that I could have - ' Land of Ganpati' where bappa never leaves and there are endless modaks to eat and never ending festivity all the time, similarly 'Land of Diwali'. Then 'Land of Summer vacations', 'Land of Indian Weddings', 'land of Bad-bad geet' with Chocolate cha Bangla, Bholanath, Sasa-kasav, and 'Land of long train journeys' because I looked forward to them LOL!

      - Priti

  14. What a fun post, Nupur! Also, I loved reading about Vandanamu so thank you for writing about it.

    I'm currently
    Eating- Mostly south Indian meals of rasam, sambhar, kootu and vegetables. Recently discovered broccoli sprouts, and boy are they tasty! Got inspired to sprout some seeds right away!
    Watching- Everybody Loves Raymond (again!) and Scrubs (again!).
    Reading- The Racketeer by John Grisham. Strange how I don't bore of his tales though I've been reading 3-4 of his novels back-to-back. Also recently read My Berlin Kitchen and loved it.
    Making- Some artwork for the house. Got a couple of canvases done and put them up in the bathroom. The 4 year old made one, and it's perfect as abstract art! Very tempted to use her skills to decorate the entire house- as our parents of fond of saying- cheap and best!
    Looking forward to- Some respite from the heat and the haze that's enveloped Singapore.

    Have an awesome week ahead!

    1. Shvetha- you are so kind to support Vandanamu!

      Broccoli sprouts- I've never tried them but now I will :) Summer and South Indian homestyle food go together so well.

      I'm so inspired by the idea of making some artwork. We have too many bare walls in our new home. I want to see pics of what you did :)

  15. Loved the list, especially the tee-shirt idea, so very cute and subtle. Here's mine:

    Eating: Lots of Thai food, I am in Bangkok for a week on work. I could Thai food all day every day for a week and still not be tired of it.

    Watching: Everybody Loves Raymond - old episodes on YouTube and loving the laughs.

    Reading: Dreams of Joy by Lisa See. An interesting look into life in communist China in the 1930s and 40s.

    Making: Nothing this week since I am traveling but I made 9 dishes in a Thai cooking class and loved the experience!

    Loving: The travel, the experiences, my job.

    Looking forward to: My sister's visit in 3 days and our visit back to India in another week.

    Thanks for inspiring!

    1. Girl, I'm with you on the Thai food. And how fun to do a Thai cooking class! Loving you job- nothing like it to add happiness to life, when going to work is a pleasure. Have lots of fun with your sis.

  16. That father's gift is absolutely adorable, Nupur!!

    Here is my list:
    Reading: I always have a comfort read book (one that's re-read and comforting, i read at night just to wash down all of day's thoughts and beat my insomania) and a real read book (more thought provoking or interesting fiction or non-fiction). My comfort book is Harry Potter deathly hallows (again!) and real read is Sheryl Sandberg, Lean in.

    Eating: lots and lots of strawberries, peaches, plums, melons and cucumbers! Lots of fresh salads and fruits for desserts.

    Watching: old hindi movies i can find on netflix; most are just time-pass - yeah, totally get it about chucking the cable. i got to do that one of these days!

    Loving: picnics!! we have done so many of these this spring and summer. Vedika has just started entering the age where she is really curious and loves everything outdoors. we have done many spur of the moment picnics over methi thepla, vada paav, masala burgers and chai - and weather co-operating, hoping for lots more this season :)

    1. I like your categorization of comfort read and real read :D Come to think of it, I often do have two such books going at the same time too...You'll have to tell us what you think of Lean In, I have it on the to-read pile.

      Your mention of fresh produce and picnic food is making me so hungry!

  17. Nupur,

    Loved the t-shirt you made for V.
    Such a sweet idea.
    We've been without cable for over two years now and don't miss it at all. Netflix is on standby, to watch shows as and when the mood strikes.

    Currently I am:
    Eating: dishes my mom has been cooking. She has been here two weeks and it feels like I've put on 10 lbs. Also summer fruit, tons of it. Yum!

    Watching: Food related documentaries on Netflix. So far, Forks over Knives and Fat, Sick and Nearly dead. We eat relatively healthy and mostly vegetarian so these didn't really turn our world upside down but were interesting to watch.

    Reading: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Listening actually. This is the first time I'm trying an audio book. Started it today on my drive to work. I like the book a lot so far. Depending on the book though, I can totally see how it could be distracting to listen to something while driving.

    Making: room in our freezer to start stocking up on summer fruits and veggies for the winter months. We picked 4 lbs of blueberries this weekend and froze half. Will go back for more in a couple more weeks.

    Loving: how our summer vegetable garden is coming along and enjoying the fruits of our labor.

    Looking forward to: Seeing my dad after over 3 years when he visits us in a couple of months.


    1. Hi Anu! I'm looking forward to seeing all the food-related documentaries you mentioned. Like you said, it would be pretty much "preaching to the choir" as far as I am concerned but still. I totally agree with you re listening to audio books while driving. It would be too distracting for me.

      You reminded me to look into blueberry picking at a nearby farm. Congrats on the summer garden and how nice that you get to see your Dad!

  18. Lovely post. It's a shame my vocabulary is so limited that I don't know how to verbalize the warm sunny feeling I get when I come to your blog and read your posts. A zest for life or something like that! :)

    (Been a while since I commented I think.. But, not a single day passes without coming here and reading old and new posts over and over.. If EVER you decide to take a long blogging break, I'll catch the next flight and jump into a dharna in front of your house.. heheh am a onehotfanatic!)

    Regards to Lila and Mr.Stove!

    1. What a nice thing to say! You're making me cry.

      Don't threaten me with dharnas :D I shall blog loyally.

  19. Hi Nupur,the social entrepreneur concept sounds amazing,many good wishes to Abhi & team!my list is cooking-magic 3 layer cake and stone fruit crisp for my fathers and husbands birthdays,reading-finished the maneater of malgudi by R K Narayan-enjoyed it!looking forward to using my new cast iron chargriller and taking my daughter to the park..we also dnt have cable tv,i find tv loud and really a time sucker!have a gr8 summer

    1. Kangna- both the magic cake (I had pinned recipes for this but haven't tried it yet) and fruit crisp sounds amazing. TV is an utter time-suck, I agree, although I never watch it without doing some crochet/knitting at the same time.

      R. K. Narayan is wonderful!

  20. Your posts are always such a lovely read Nupur. Absolutely love the t-shirt idea. V must be very proud to wear it ! And what Abhi is doing is really fantastic..very inspiring !
    Eating - kesar mangoes which some towards the end of the season and taste fantastic !
    Watching - movies over the weekend
    Reading - books by Indian authors. Ashwin Sanghi is my current favourite
    Making - a lot of cookies and brownies for friends
    Looking forward to a bake sale on Friday at my place !

    1. Oh Archana do eat a couple extra mangoes in my name! And what fun to host a bake sale. I hope you'll blog pictures and details :)

  21. Hi,

    Lovely to hear from you after a break... loved the T... subtle but says a lot!!!

    Heres my list -

    1)Eating - The rains are here in India and so its pakora time... really binging on the kanda bhajjis.. (need to watch out the calories now :-( )

    2)Watching - Well... this ones not so nice.. news.. the tragedy up north is shocking / devastating all at the same time. Also the cricket matches...

    3)Reading - Reading or rather re-reading some of my old Agatha Christies.. its my go to book whenever I am tired or stressed.

    4)Making - Made some lovely Alu Wadis over the weekend... yum yum.. Thats the only amount of making (cooking) I do... not very creatively inclined.

    5)Loving - The weather in Mumbai - Mumbai looks lovely in the rains....

    6)Looking forward to - Each and every moment that is to come.... :-) on a more non idealistic note, any small break from my sons school, to plan a short getaway...

    Take care...


    1. Hi Meenal- Oh man, monsoons and pakodas, what a heady combination. Cooking is a very creative process- and alu wadis, those are quite tricky to make. Like you, Agatha Christie is my comfort reading.

      I unfortunately can't seem to keep up with news from India, and heard very late about the floods. So sad.

  22. Sorry Nupur. Wrote my reply in the thread of the previous post mistakenly. Don't know how I managed it.

    1. Not a problem! I am copying it here. "Hi nupur,
      We are enjoying lots of fruits at the moment. Pineapple, cherries, mango, lychees, strawberries and water melon and fresh eggs from the summer farmer's market. Read a great crime classic: the beast must die by Nicholas Blake. Also doing a buddy read of all the Inspector Morse chronicles. Read trains and lovers (enjoyed) and currently reading an LM Alcott biography because we visited her house recently. Watching All Creatures Great and Small on Netflix. Also watched Tara Road recently. Looking fwd to a zoo trip soon because Mehuli's into lions at the moment :) have not read Rushdie yet.

    2. Lychees- probably my favorite fruit when I do happen to find fresh and ripe ones. They have such a floral taste. I've seen almost all the Inspector Morse shows on TV but don't think I have read any of the books. I like Alcott- and LOVED her book Eight Cousins when I read it as a tween.

    3. Last bus to Woodstock was a fun, fast paced read. Morse is just as ascerbic in his comments as John thaw is in the TV series. Enjoy most of Alcott's books. She had a very progressive but deprived childhood. Interesting to read about boston and concord in the 1840s and on- concord was a melting pot of literary talent.
      Yes lychees and mangoes- two things I miss about Indian summers.

  23. Hi Nupur,
    This is what is going on in my new home at niskayuna, ny.

    Activity: frisbee in the yard, yoga in the mornings, planting new plants and potty training (phew!)

    Reading- Orhan Pamuk's my name is Red. It is quite a thrilling read.

    Loving:- The rains of course!!!...and some bhujiya sev :P

    Eating:- I just made some katchoris last evening as it was raining. I had them with some masala chai....try dunking the katchoris in hot masala chai...yummm...

    Making:- still crocheting the sunset sunrise afghan. I got this project bag from etsy which was so great to store all my crochet paraphernalia

    1. Congrats on the new home, Preeti! Good for you for being active with frisbee and yoga. You made kachoris from scratch? The sunset sunrise pattern is adorable- when you're done with yours, I'd love to see a pic.

  24. Dear Nupur, Kudos to Abhi and you, it's wonderful what you both are doing! I love your Tshirt idea. Someone at work got a picture collage with their 3 daughters each holding up a letter of DAD cut out in colored paper and the pictures spelt DAD. That was a neat idea as well. I also read Piggle wiggle based on Gretchen Rubin's recommendation for her book club! Have you read Where the Sidewalk Ends? When Lila is older, you should read the poems to her. My kids love it! Their favorite is the one about the boy who talked with his mouth full. I just finished Home by Toni Morrison and Not in the Flesh by Ruth Rendell. I am starting the No 1 Ladies Detective agency (i know you like that series!) book 1. I haven't been cooking but plan to pick up one your tried and true recipes and start again, make a break away from ready made and frozen food. Do you have a list somewhere of your favorite, quick recipes? I have a bunch of yarn waiting for me but I have been taking swim lessons to improve my freestyle so probably won't be knitting for a while. And I just ate a peach from Costco, I love ripe peaches..."Shubh" summer! Rashmi

    1. Hi Rashmi- The project is ALL Abhi and her colleagues, I am only spreading the word! The DAD collage is such a cute idea but I suppose one needs to have three kids :D

      I read Where The Sidewalk Ends many years ago and loved it so much that I promptly bought a copy for a friend's son.

      Don't have a list of favorite quick recipes but on the whole most recipes that I end up blogging about are quick and my favorites!

    2. It's so courteous that you reply to each comment, Nupur. You are quite the "gentlelady." I agree with the other readers- it's a joy to read your blog. I thought of doing the DAD thing for my husband whom my two kids call Papa with one child holding a letter alternately or the Dad thing with both kids holding the middle letter. You could just have even one child hold all three letters in different poses (if you only have one.) The end result was very cool at least the way my friend did it. Enjoy Downtown Abbey. You just feel slightly bereft after seeing the last instalment!

  25. Your posts are so delightful Nupur ...always brings a smile to my face and I really do get re- energized :)

    Eating: Trying to eat lots of salads and a home made balsamic vinegar dressing has been on my list to do. Also tried out the arracha sambhar on your blog ( from shammi's blog) and must say this is the sambhar that I've been craving for. this is the sambhar that I used to eat in my neighbour's house every sunday and it bought back memories. This will be on regular rotation list

    Watching: House of Cards, How I met your mother, Big Bang theory , Good wife. Life you , we've waved goodbye to the cable and rely only on streaming. I do miss watching re- runs of 'friends', but the online streaming is great . Need to start watching 'Downton Abbey '

    Reading: Just finished 'Salmon Fishing on the Yemen' by Paul Torday . Highly recommend this book . Though I liked the ending of the movie better as its more feel - good

    1. Thanks for chiming in, Sarah! I vaguely feel like I've tried that sambar recipe from Shammi's blog- now I have to go back and try it again. Isn't it fun to find a keeper recipe?

      Like you, I love How I Met... and Big Bang Theory. It sounds like several of us aren't using cable TV any more, hmm?

  26. Lovely post as usual. you never fail to pique interest and strike a chord! we have been cable free for years too and never miss it. Netflix is more than enough for our needs - my sport fanatic of a husband will go out and watch matches that he feels really strongly about. here's what's on my list:

    Eating - Homemade icecream! The bowl went back to live in the freezer and we are whipping up icecream at a moment's notice and loving it. Made your tender-coconut icecream for a last minute playdate and everyone loved it:).

    Watching: Mad Men season 6. I just recently found the season 6 online (scrambling since we don't have cable) and catching up obsessively. couple more episodes to go.

    Reading: Market/investment related articles. Or trying to. Just like the CPA journal that has been on my desk for weeks. why is this so hard to read when i can whiz through any novel in hours! :)

    Making: All natural Skin care products for our newly launched company. its just so much fun! I just experimented with sandalwood lotion bars and loving it.

    Loving:spending the summer with my children! this is the first year that my son is home for vacation, i have more time to spend with them and its been a blast so far. Yesterday we picnicked at the park and chased peacocks, today we went ice-skating. absolutely loving it.

    Looking forward to: the rest of the summer! Days at the beach,
    picnics in the parks, fun day trips.. oh work too!

    1. So you've been cable free too?? I don't think I will be missing it at all. I've heard so much about Mad Men. If Netflix has it, I'll watch it this summer.

      You reminded me to stick my ice cream bowl in the freezer! Tis the season for homemade ice cream and sorbets for sure. Glad the coconut ice cream worked for you.

      Good luck with your company!! I loved hearing about your happy times with your kids.

  27. Wow Nupur, you are my HERO!! A wonder woman for sure, and such an inspiration. All your friends here have already said everything I wanted to say. Love your writing, cooking and all your art work. The Tee is super cute. With your permission im going to steal the idea for father's day, which is on Sept 1st here in Australia. I have 2 kids, so will have to work my way to put in 3 hands and a heart :)

    Right now I am:
    Loving: spending quality time with my 8 month old bub Ankush, as im on maternity leave till September.

    Eating: trying out hearty winter soups for dinner thrice a week. Its winter here in Australia and its not much fun!!

    Watching: Master Chef, my favourite reality show, as like you, we got rid of cable TV!

    Making: a list of things to shop to and from India as we're off for holiday in a month's time :)

    Thanks for your interesting posts, can't wait for the next.
    - Suchi

    1. Hi Suchi! Please do use the tee idea for Father's Day there- two little hands would only add to the cuteness. I've never watched MasterChef- not a fan of Ramsey. I hope you have loads of fun in India!!

  28. Lovely post Nupur. Your black board is inspiring me to get one for my kitchen too!! Do you have a recipe for Falooda on your blog? Believe it or not, I've never tasted falooda in my life. I just ordered basil seeds online and I'm looking for a fool proof recipe to try them :-)
    Right now I am:
    Loving: Spending time with my 9 month old daughter and 5 year old son. Being a stay of home mom and a food blogger seem to suit me well :0)

    Eating: A lot of new dishes. My mom got me hooked to Telugu cooking shows and I've been cooking a lot of new dishes lately.

    Watching: What I mentioned under 'eating' :-)

    Making: Nothing much at all. Unless you consider taking pictures and posting on the blog as 'making' :-(

    Looking forward to: 50/50 chance of visiting Indian in August. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    1. Hi Pavani- You're "making" great memories for your kids and that's the most important thing! So glad you're enjoying being home with them.

      How I make falooda (easy method, no idea if it the "right" way).

      1. Soak basil seeds in water for a couple of hours until they swell, then drain.

      2. Cook some falooda sev in boiling water. Drain. This is optional.

      3. Mix basil seeds, falooda sev (if using), roohafza syrup (shocking pink bottled syrup available in Indian stores), and milk. All quantities are to taste.

      4. Add a ladleful of this mix to a glass, top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve.

      Also, see Ashwini's post here:

    2. Nupur, Thank you so much for the falooda recipe. Ashwini's pics are too tempting -- will try it real soon.

  29. Eating- a ton of watermelon(dripping juice all over) and strauss yogurt(my absolute favorite brand)

    Cooking- cakes, pizzas, savory pies(have always wanted to make pie crust from scratch and I just did this summer. Yay!)

    Reading- various cook books from the local library but especially on baking bread and canning. Two hot favorites right now. Would love to freeze dough for bread ahead on a weekend and simply defrost and bake.

    Watching- catching up on hindi movies online streaming to the idiot box. Loved Barfi, parts of GOW1 and 2, loved, loved KPC.

    Making- altering clothes by hand a task I'm not great at but getting better.

    Looking forward to- a four city 20 day trip to India end of July and close to home a 2 week trip to three cities on East Coast. Yippy!!

    Loved this post of yours. How do you manage to pack it all in with a baby and job and hobbies I dunno:-)


    1. Hi Deepa! Your travel plans sound fantastic- I hope you have lots of fun. Thanks for mentioning the Hindi movies- I'll have to look for Barfi and KPC. Haven't watched Hindi movies in years. Congrats on making pie crust :) it opens up a whole new world of possibilities, doesn't it?

    2. Hi Nupur, Just wanted to suggest a few movies on netflix,if you are planning on catching up on Desi movies- which are pretty good:

      Wake up Sid
      A Wednesday
      Harishchandrachi Factory

      If u like total TP movies then try

      Dabanng 2
      Singham has a lot of really good Marathi movies and serials.

      Sanai-chaughade ( or it was renamed kande-pohe)

      Eka Lagnachi dusri goshta

      Hope you watch and like some :)

    3. Thanks Manasi- this is awesome! I loved loved loved Harischandrachi Factory, saw it with my sis a couple of years ago on Netflix. Will try and catch the rest.

  30. that is such a fun tshirt with the hand prints!
    eating- Just had a yummy avocado sandwich! Apart from this, generally eating and craving lots of watermelon, fruits, ice cream! Its hot here in CA!
    watching-nothing currently..ours is a no-TV-watching kinda household!
    reading- Vikram seth's suitable boy and Crichton's 'timeline'. If you have not read vikram seth's work, will definitely recommend! One of my favorite authors. His 'two lives' and this current book are awesome reads. :)
    making- nothing :( . oh wait, does making plans count?!
    loving-feeling the kicks of the baby in my tummy as I type this! (small joys of pregnancy!)
    looking forward to- my mum visiting us here in a couple of months! Just cannot wait!

    1. Congrats on the baby-to-be! I loved Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy. I read it over a month, one brutally cold and dull January some years ago, and it made the season bearable for me to be reading a LONG and good book. Thanks for mentioning Two Lives- I put it on my list.

  31. it sounds like you are enjoying the good life - but you can take your brutally hot summer as we have enough brutally hot days here for it to appeal. We are just starting to watch the dvds of the 3rd series of downton and love it - such a beautiful and entertaining show but also it gives wonderful insights into another time too. I am readying a book called Mars Daughters by Thomas Keneally - just love it - about nurses in World War I

    1. Hi Johanna- I came to Downton much after the rest of the world (or so it seems) but I can see the appeal of this series. They've done a beautiful job with it, and the story is just dramatic enough that it keeps you hooked. Thanks for mentioning The Daughters of Mars- I put it on my list.

  32. Hey Nupur, I have been meaning to comment on every post I've read but just didn't get around to doing so..We had a baby boy six months ago so right now doing research on what to feed him (So my obsessions have been cloth diapers, baby slings etc for the past few months and now solid I'm torn between the purees and baby led weaning..Since you seem to be on the same page as me when it comes to 'green' living I wanted to know what you did with Lila. When did you start solid foods? Did you go the baby cereal route or just home made? Also would love to know if you have a resource for eco friendly toys

    Thanks so much!!

    P.S Have you watched this documentary called Jiro dreams of's on netflix- I think you'll love it.

    1. Congrats on your baby boy, Lavanya! As for bringing up baby, I tend to take the middle path most of the time. For instance, I started solids at 6.5 months (which would probably be considered not too early, not too late) because that's when she seemed interested, and gave her both purees and offered finger food (combo of purees and baby led weaning).

      Again, as for buying baby cereal and making my own, I did both! Had some boxed baby cereal on hand to use occasionally as well as made my own khichdis and porridges.

      The most eco-friendly toys as far as I am concerned is (a) stuff around the house like steel spoons and plates to bang on, cardboard boxes and crinkly wrapping paper because seriously that's what babies seem to enjoy most and (b) I gratefully accept hand me down toys from friends, and often buy toys at yard sales and on Craigslist. For me, reuse is an excellent way to be eco-friendly.

      If you're asking about real proper branded eco-friendly toys, I don't know much about that. Etsy seems to have a good selection. I have bought a few pull toys like this one from Plan toys to give as gifts: on my to-watch list :) Thanks for reminding me.

  33. I just adore your posts. You are so talented. How on earth do you get time to read so much! And that T'shirt is awesome. I dislike Salman Rushdie's books. Downtown Abbey is cute and congrats on dumping the cable box! And that blackboard is The Best idea. Love it.

    1. Thanks Poornima! I usually read after my toddler goes to bed, it is a nice way to end the day.

  34. thank you for the mention in the original post! so glad you tried the recipe. Would love to know if you did the elaborate version or a quick one (like me).
    A bit late with this list, but lets see if I can give it a shot.
    eating : anything I can make in 30 mins.. salads, wraps, lots of pressure cooked daals and for some reason going through a ton of cucumber. I also swallowed a bag full of plums! I just love them and scored a nice deal at the grocery store. Recently Im stuck with this idea that some people suggest you shouldnt eat fruit for its sugar content and it just sounds appaling that anything that grows naturally is off limits on diets. Its making me want to eat more fruits!
    Cooking : everyday!
    Reading: havent started reading, but have in my hands Jasper Fforde's The Eyre affair. Intend to read the whole Thursday Next series this summer.
    Watching : Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. I dont even know why I watch this! Its almost always about meat and Im a vegetarian. I guess I like the idea of discovering local faves.
    Making: time! Trying to spend more time with my very curious 2 yr old.

    1. Hi Archana- I took a few short cuts on the chickpea lentil salad- used my cumin-coriander powder (made a few weeks earlier, not freshly ground but close enough), left out sage, things like that.

      Loved reading your list, I'm not a fan of plums unless they are sugary sweet which never happens :) The Eyre affair sounds very interesting, thanks for mentioning it.

      Like you, I used to watch Diners... every now and then for the local flavor. Even though I find Guy Fieri obnoxious. Not any more, don't have cable :)

  35. Nupur I love the idea of u have flooda recipe on your blog??? As for summer stuff...lots of watermelon, mangoes & bhutta(Indian style corn) & o'course ice cream....with both kids at home, trying to keep lunches simple not exactly salad but quick fixes....chickpea salad, dhokla, idli fry, veggi pranthas with dahi etc. & I'm specially enjoying my afternoon naps as kids don't want to take nap, after lunch I keep fruits & water on the tables for them so they can help themselves when they get hungry(older one is 11 so they can manage)..... also trying to crochet some bookmarks & some roses...

    1. Check this out for the falooda recipe:

      Your lunches are making me hungry!! Sounds like you're enjoying summer with your kids.

  36. Thanks Nupur for the link

  37. I ADORE that t-shirt that you made for father's day. Such a fun and sweet idea. Think I'll have to borrow for next year... (and thank you for the link love. Glad you liked the format! I find it to be a lot of fun).

    1. Thanks! Please do use that T-shirt idea- I'd love to see how yours turns out.


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