Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mid Summer 2013

When I did a what's-going-on-in-my-life post a few weeks ago, I had the best time reading your comments on what everyone has been up to. So here we go again...we're in the last month of Summer 2013 and this is what I am...

Eating seasonal goodies, such as peaches. This year we've had very unusual summer weather in GA. It has been so wet that the peaches are waterlogged- huge but bland. We had a house-guest from Israel last week and I wanted to make her something very Georgia, very Southern. So I made this peach cobbler using peaches from a nearby orchard and it was a wonderful dessert with vanilla ice cream. Very simple and fun to make too.

Today, I used a bunch of peaches to make peach salsa. It is chilling in the fridge waiting to be taken to a party later today.

To make the peach salsa, just mix together:
- 3 ripe peaches, peeled and diced. The easiest way to peel ripe peaches is to drop them for a minute in boiling water and then remove them into a bowl of ice water. The peel slips right off.
- 1 yellow/red pepper, diced
- 2 avocados, peeled and diced
- A bit of minced onion and cilantro
- Salt, cumin, chili powder to taste
- Lemon juice if the peaches are not tangy

Serve with a bag of tortilla chips or eat it as a salad if you want to be all goody-goody.

The other seasonal, local thing I'm eating too much of:

Boiled peanuts. Now this is total deja vu for me. I grew up in a peanut-growing part of India, and we devoured boiled peanuts every time the harvest season rolled around. Now after a couple of decades, I'm living in peanut country again, and what joy it was yesterday to cook a pressure cooker's worth of raw peanuts in brine. They taste soft and sweet/salty and have a mealy texture. I'm told they are an acquired taste. V is very indifferent to them and a friend told me she hated the texture. Never mind, that just means there's more for me :)




Reading Stephen King's novel, 11/22/63. It is 800+ pages long so I might still be reading it by the time next summer rolls around, hah.

Other notable reads from the last month:

Image: Goodreads

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny. This is one of the books from the Inspector Gamache series set in Quebec, Canada. It kept me interested from beginning to end, with a good plot and a fascinating setting in a secluded monastery that reverberates with Gregorian chants. This book is a good choice for cozy mystery lovers.








Image: Goodreads
These next three books are for middle grade readers but each one was a thoughtful and meaningful read for me. So I would say, read them with your kids and read them for yourself. Wonder by R. J. Palacio is a book about a 10 year old boy named August who was born with a rare and severe facial deformity. After years of being home-schooled, he steps into fifth grade and out into the world. We all deal with our insecurities when we go out in public and stepping into August's shoes for a while is an eye-opening experience. What a beautiful, uplifting story this is. A must-read for you and your kids.

The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright was a real treat in the cozy, Enid Blyton style. The book is set in the 1940s in New York City and is about a family of 4 siblings who decide to pool their meager allowances and take turns going on Saturday adventures. The book is a small lesson in anti-helicopter parenting, in letting children figure out how to amuse themselves and come up with creative solutions to their small problems.

Black and Blue Magic by Zilpha Keatly Snyder was also an entertaining read about the summer adventures of a boy who is stuck at home helping his mother run a boarding house in the 60s while his wealthier neighbors move to the suburbs. I loved these three books about kids who are given the freedom to be resourceful while still having a strong and stable childhood in all sorts of different circumstances.

If you enjoy books in this genre, check out NPR's must-read 100 books for ages 9-14. I'm 2 decades removed from that age group, but this list is a veritable goldmine of books that I want to read (such as The Giver and Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret) and many more that I have read and loved (A Tree Grows in Brookyln, The Secret Garden, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and so on).

Two for the Road by Jane and Michael Stern. This is a couple who has spent decades traveling around the United States, looking for interesting and tasty food finds along America's highways and back roads and small towns off the beaten track. They started doing this as fresh college grads without much of a life plan and have been doing it ever since. I really enjoyed this book of essays about their meanderings. There's some really random stuff in here- about bad hotel rooms and interesting menus, about eating 12 meals a day to record as much as they could on their road trips. And there is some stuff that is very touching, such as when a very rural town's population came together to keep a cafe and a community alive.

Making more quilts, what else?


Watching episodes of Psych, the comedy mystery series when I'm in the mood for mindless entertainment. The best thing I watched last month was a documentary mini-series: Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking. This is absolutely must-see TV. And guess who shares the narration with Dr. Hawking? The dishy Benedict Cumberbatch. I also started watching Orange is the New Black- a tragi-comedy about life in a women's prison. It is engaging, a little disturbing, definitely raunchy. I don't know if I like it yet.

Planning Lila's second birthday party. It will be a simple affair at home with snacks and music and cake, of course. I asked Lila, "Do you want a butterfly cake or a fishie cake?" and she earnestly replied, "OK".

Celebrating the fact that my BFF Neighbor Girl passed the bar exam in her very first attempt. I've always teased her at being very good at lawyerly BS and now she can earn a living doing it. Call me if you need a defense attorney- I can get you the family and friends discount ;)

That's all, folks!
Please tell us in the comments: What are you eating, reading, watching, making, planning and celebrating these days?

74 comments:

  1. Can't believe it is end of Summer already!! We haven't done much this summer -- with the husband away more than half of the time. Here's what me and the kids did :-)
    Eating -- We ate lot of summer tomatoes & berries this year.
    Reading: finally started reading again.. yay for me.. I'm reading Dan Brown's Lost symbol and a ton of 1st grade reading books for my son :0)
    Watching: I got hooked to Mistresses on ABC -- talk about raunchy television ;-)
    Making: As part of Valli's blogging marathon, next month I'm doing 'A-Z dishes from A.P.', inspired from your own series, so I'm cooking my way through the alphabets (still 15 more to go--so wish me luck with that)
    Planning: Both my kids are September born, so I'm planning 2 parties -- 1st b'day and 6th b'day.. I want to make cupcakes i/o a big cake for both of them. Haven't decided flavor for the girl, but the boy definitely wants something with 'Chocolate'.
    Celebrating: Our 8th wedding anniversary and my 12th landing in US anniversary :-)

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    1. Oh yay- you'll be discovering some wonderful children's literature with your son, I bet! WOW- kudos on the Andhra alphabet cooking- I'm cheering you on :)

      Happy Birthday to your kids- how fun to have 2 celebrations in one month. I think I'll make a cherry cream cake for my little girl. Maybe some choc cupcakes too, because those are always popular.

      I realized that I too have been in the US for 12 years this week!

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  2. Nupur, you're always inspiring me to do more with my free time!! I loved reading this -- I hope to be back before summer's over with my 'mid-summer' list. For now let me just say, I love your quilting and I really love those boiled peanuts!! ;)

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    1. I bet you're busy with your summer garden, Linda! Glad you're on the boiled peanuts bandwagon ;)

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  3. Shubha from SydneyAugust 19, 2013 1:02 AM

    Here in Sydney, winter is on the wane, looking forward to spring! Stone fruit has arrived on the green grocers'shelves but very expensive. Enjoying the last of mandarins, reading a book on creative writing by Prof Jack Heffron, watching "Apsara Alee" on Zee Marathi, planning to celebrate older son's birthday on Narali Poornima by making Naral Wadi, looking forward to celebrating Janmashatami towards the end of the month!

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    1. Ooh Naaral wadi. My favorite burfi of all time. Happy Birthday to your son. The creative writing book sounds interesting- I have a couple of those on my to-read list.

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  4. Hi Nupur! Love these kind of posts(am a sucker for lists and this is kind of like a list,no :)
    alright,here is mine.
    eating: Salads!Just discovered a salad can be made of both fruits AND veggies together.Have always had either fruit or veggie salad before.So,now eating up scrumptious salads made of mung sprouts,oranges apples,onions(!),mint,chilies with a dash of salt+pepper+lemon juice.

    Reading: No:1 Ladies Detective Agency(starting to read again and what better start than this series)

    Watching: Our beloved doggy playing in the lawn. He loves to show off that he can roll on the grass :)

    Making:Always tea,tea and more tea!

    Planning:To stick to a 28 day lifestyle change that involves healthy eating and some fitness.

    Celebrating: Nothing :| Now,I will find something to celebrate ;P

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    1. Hi Kavi! I'm with you on the fruit veggie salad combos. My favorite one is my aunt's recipe, check it out if you're interested: http://onehotstove.blogspot.com/2009/05/maushis-summer-salad.html

      I hope you like No. 1 Ladies' :) Boy, I love that series. Hugs to your sweet doggy!

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  5. oops,the earlier Anon comment was from Kavi.

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  6. Your quilt looks lovely! And oh I Love boiled peanuts, I was born with that acquired taste! Lila's reply to your question started my day with a big smile. :-) It IS difficult to choose between a butterfly and a fish, I can't wait to see which one you make. Lila's birthday approaching made me remember Nico :-) hope he is doing good. Kudos to Neighbour girl! wish you both were still living nearby.

    Here's what I am doing,
    Eating: Lots of ripe sweet juicy Lychees! This little red fruit has a lovely cool rosy taste and our hands can't stop grabbing some from the fridge every time we pass it.

    Reading: 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society' and really enjoying it. Also browsing through a lot of cake books borrowed from the library.

    Making: An Opera Cake for hubby's birthday this week. :-) Just got all ingredients. It's my first time baking with almond flour so I am really excited!

    Watching: Two mindless marathi serials after not watching any for 5 years. :-) I don't know, its nice to hear the language in the background while I get my chores done. Maybe I am just missing my family too much.

    Planning: (1) A surprise which I can't stop thinking about :-) and, (2) A menu for a lovely family invited for dinner this weekend. One of the family members is a very gracious cookbook author and that makes me slightly nervous and very excited!

    Celebrating: My hubby's birthday this week! :-) He's my life's sweetest blessing.

    - Priti

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    1. Happy Birthday to your hubby and I have to say you two are a very sweet couple :) The opera cake sounds fantastic. I remember the Daring Bakers making it a few years ago and it was eye-popping (and something I would not attempt in a hundred years, give or take).

      I've been eating some lychees too. Found some at a nearby Asian market and it was so exciting!

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    2. Thank You Thank you! *blushes* :-D I remember being totally wow'ed by the cake too and now I am rubbing my hands in glee on finally being able to attempt it. I would happily share it with you if you were living nearby, not just stinky cheese you know. :-)

      Your picture of boiled peanuts has made me crave for them so badly now I have to get lots of them very soon. I & hubby always end up doing a boiled peanut-eating marathon ;-) till the very last nut, so I need plenty to share and to keep the competition healthy :P I love them soft, sweet, salty, mealy, tender, water filled, anyway! Slurpppp!

      Talking about nuts, my mom asked at a grocery store in Delhi when we were new there, 'Khaara Sing milega?' referring to those salty roasted peanuts she could easily get in Mumbai. The shopkeeper looked confused and said. 'Nahiji, iss naam ka toh yaha koi kaam nahi karta.' LOL! she pointed some peanuts and he said 'Yeah? yeah toh Mungphalli hai'. :-D

      - Priti

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    3. Priti, that is so hilarious. I am still laughing as I type this.
      Ashwini

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    4. OMG Priti, I am dying laughing! Poor Mr. Khara Sing!

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  7. Eating, reading, watching, making, planning and celebrating these days: I am now living in the same area where you grew up so got to taste boiled 'shengdana' - liked it actualy and so many other types of upwaas ka khana! Before coming to this place of India I did not know that we also frow Dill In India and we call it 'Shepu'! My cooking has adapted several technique from this place like occasional use of goda masala, use of peanuts in tomato bhaji, making different kinds of savoury pancakes known as 'ghavan' herer :-)
    Finished reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and liked it a lot. I have not seen many CXO connecting to mid level, average working women so intensely.
    Not getting time to watch anything for so many weeks. I want to watch so many new releases in Bollywood like Ye Jawani Hai Diwani, Lootera, Bhag Milkha Bhag, Bombay Taklies etc. :-(
    Making: trying to upcycle some glass jars to reuse them as home decor.
    Planning for certain things to finish at workplace...
    Just finished celebrating Independence day of India, tomorrow is rakhi and then there will be Ganesh Chaturthi, Onam, Durga puja ....
    In India celebration season is already there ...:)

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    1. I'm so totally delighted that you're enjoying the influence of Maharashtrian cooking and local ingredients. Shepu was something I never did grow to like, though. As for peanuts and ghavans, bring them on.

      Lean In is on my list, as are many Hindi movies! Another coincidence- I was just about to put some of my buttons in glass jars for a decor/storage combo solution.

      Have lots of fun with the festivals!

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  8. Nupur,

    Your blog is like a community, love that you take the time to respond to comments.
    Congrats to your BFF neighbor girl.
    I love boiled peanuts and that peach salsa looks delish.

    Here's what I'm up to:

    Eating: Fruits..loving summer's bounty. Nectarines, berries, plums and now figs.

    Reading: Real Food by Nina Planck and Where'd you go Bernadette by Maria Semple. The former is good but she suggests a diet heavily based on animal products and I don't think we need that much. The latter book is a pretty good read so far. It's written like a journal and is quite enjoyable.

    Making: Chocolate chip cookies for our close friends' daughter who leaves for college this weekend.

    Watching: Watched Finding Nemo again with my daughter on Friday and I think Ellen as Dory is perfection. Love that movie!

    Planning: at least two get togethers at our home in the coming weeks. My dad's coming here in 2 weeks and planning some weekend trips while he's here.

    Celebrating: nothing major.

    Anu

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    1. I haven't seen Finding Nemo yet but it sounds lovely (I do love the songs). I'm saving all these movies for when my daughter is old enough and I have to watch them whether I want to or not ;)

      Hope you have lots of fun with your Dad!

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  9. Hi Nupur! I love these posts of yours, and I look forward to all the comments...:)
    This year with a new baby all we did was to learn with her. Reading and watching about babies, cooking simple, quick and healthy meals that aid lactation, and using whatever little spare time I get in pinteresting (guilty pleasure there) and just a little bit of yoga to fee better.

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    1. Thanks :) I love the comments too :) Congrats on your new baby and it is delightful how you say it, that you're learning with her. Nothing like pinning for some good time-pass entertainment. There are many worse things we could be doing so pin on, I say!

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  10. Happy birthday to Lila! How cute she is...:)

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  11. Always great to hear your updates!
    I love boiled peanuts. Do you put the whistle on the pressure cooker to cook them? If so how many whistles?
    I am looking forward to an update of Lila's birthday. Happy birthday to her!

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    1. Yes, Sangeetha, I use the whistle and I turned it off after the first whistle. But then absolutely everything cooks in my pressure cooker in just one whistle! Other cookers may need more time, I just don't know.

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    2. Thanks Nupur! You are so kind in answering all comments!

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  12. Oh! I wanted to play along as soon as I saw this post, but didn't get around to writing till right now. So here goes - I've been...

    Eating - peaches, avocados, plums, tomatoes, berries of all sorts. Oh and watermelon too. Fruit is the highlight of this summer for me! Well that and ice-cream/frozen yoghurt.

    Reading - the last thing was Living Free by Joy Adamson. Also a German children's book to improve my Deutsch

    Watching - episodes of "Yes Minister" on DVD, while ironing a mountain of clothes. It makes a mundane chore a lot more fun :)

    Making - hmmmn, this is a difficult one. Let's see, figures for my paper, hopefully? (I know this is rather pathetic but that's all I could come up with)

    Planning - my trip back home. It's in 6 weeks! And the experiments that I need to get done before that :p

    Celebrating - the warmest summer since I arrived in Germany! And I will be celebrating Durga Puja with my family this year!!!

    May I add for the nth time that I absolutely love your blog? It's always a joy to read.

    Hugs,
    Shoots :)

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    1. Thanks for playing along, girl! I loved Adamson's Born Free. Elsa the lion, right? And reading children's books sounds like the very best way to learn a language.

      I loved Yes Minister all those years ago. The Brits know how to make a good TV show.

      Good luck with the paper!!! And so excited about your upcoming trip! Hugs to you.

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  13. As always, awesome quilts! Here goes the happenings in my life:
    Eating- all kinds of fruits from local farmers' markets - cantaloupes, stone fruits, grapes! yum!
    Reading- A suitable boy (I was reading this the last time I wrote a similar comment on your post) and Merchant of Venice.
    Watching- House of cards on netflix. We are trying to stick to our no-tv-during-dinner rule, but this series is breaking our habit! :(
    Making- made an awesome grilled cheese and veggie sandwich (and devoured it) 20 mins back ;)
    Planning- to welcome our baby in 5 weeks from now! (cannot wait!) and making plans for the free time I will have when my maternity leave starts in 2 weeks from now! yay!
    celebrating- All the good things in life!

    cheers
    Neha

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    1. Good luck, Neha!! What a fun and exciting time this must be for you.

      Hmm- House of Cards. I don't usually care for political dramas but it sounds interesting.

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  14. Shubha from SydneyAugust 19, 2013 7:48 PM

    Nupur - you're blog is the highlight of my day! I log on and read your recipes and comments. Thanks a million for all the hard work that you do and you have created quite the "family" here. Very appreciated :)

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    1. What a nice thing to say, Shubha! You just made my day!

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  15. I enjoy these posts of yours too Nupur and getting ideas from them and the comments. Here's my 2 cents:
    Eating: wasabi peas, pineapple in everything esp on pizza, lots of stir fry noodles and our guilty pleasure: TJs Belgian chocolate pudding with strawberries, raspberries and whipped cream.
    Reading: lots of great books over the summer. Discovered a favorite author ( why had I not found her for so long?) - Barbara Pym. Life after Life by Kate Atkinson- a truly breathtaking experimental novel. The author has a great talent for creating beautiful expressions- a real wordsmith. She talks about great Austrian desserts too in her book that always helps! I read A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh- and I will read up most of his other books - a great satirist but this book made me feel so sad- some of the characters he creates are so shallow they want to make me cry. I really enjoyed the midwife- some of the stories are so heart wrenching and stay with you.
    Watching: not much. Want to watch Broadchurch. Recently watched Sarah's key which was also beautiful but difficult to watch. I'm really enjoying a PBS British comedy called the Cafe at the moment. Don't ask me why ? I think because it's just so ordinary and nothing too exciting happens.
    Making: have been very busy at work. So I guess I have been making a lot of uninterpretable data :)
    Planning: my parents trip in my head. They will be with us for the winter months and will make the new England winter more tolerable.
    Celebrating: the warm rays of summer with weekend picnics underneath the shade of tall trees that overlook a beautiful lake. Can't believe it will be gone too soon.
    Here's to a great rest of the summer for all of us
    Arpita.

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    1. Hi Arpita! I read Pym's Excellent Women, thanks to you, and enjoyed it. Now I'm adding Life After Life to my TBR list. I'm glad you read The Midwife and yes, some of the stories are just brutal.

      Making uninterpretable data? Story of my life ;)

      I hope you enjoy the rest of the warm weather!

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  16. How I love your lists Nupur. I can't believe Lila is going to be 2. Happy Birthday Lila. Have a lovely day and year ahead. I am eagerly waiting for the b'day post to see all your ideas at work.
    Here is what we are upto -
    Eating - making the most of summer's bounty. Apart from berries, this year I have snacked on so many Persian cucumbers, I am sure my skin has a green tinge.
    Drinking - My Iranian neighbor shared this drink recipe with us and we are hooked. Blend honeydew melon, rose water, mint and ice. A-mazing!!!
    Making - carrot+zucchini+date cupcakes for my daughter's playdate (no sugar yay!). Also freezing berries, corn and tomatoes for the winter. Lot of work but worth the joy of topping the morning oatmeal with berries or making a creamy tomato soup in dreary January.
    Reading - 'The Septembers of Shiraz'.... spent an evening talking with the Iranian neighbor and really wanted to read up more on the country's struggles. Still too early to say if I like the book.
    Watching - 'Perception' on TNT. Officially addicted. A schizophrenic neuroscientist who helps solve murder mysteries - enough said!!!
    I went on and on didn't I? Blame yourself :D
    -Ashwini

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    1. Ashwini- thanks for the birthday wishes for Lila! Yes, it is a cliche but time does fly.

      The Persian melon drink sounds truly amazing. But then I believe rosewater is a wonderful thing and makes everything taste better.

      Perception sounds very interesting. I'll have to see if I can find it on Netflix.

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  17. Hi Nupur,
    I wandered across your blog a few days ago! I am enjoying all the posts and the recipes.
    You have included one of my fav author in your reads, Louise Penny who writes the Gamache series( I call him Gourmet Gamache- he eats well...lol)I have read every single book in that series.Right now I am reading Lorna Barrett and her book town series.I am waiting for Charles Finch's new mystery which will be published in Nov of this year. Can you tell I like mysteries?
    I wish your little one a very happy birthday, look forward to more recipes...
    Mona

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    1. Welcome to my little blog, Mona. I have enjoyed two of Penny's Gamache books and I think I will be happy to read more in the future. Like you, I'm a fan of cozy mysteries. Thanks for mentioning the book town series, I'll have to look for those.

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  18. Eating- home made food and out on weekends. Something as simple as poli-bhaaji is so satisfying.

    Reading: 'Radheya' by Ranjeet Desai, in Marathi. I got it a while ago and am trudging thru it a bit slowly, never realized it would be so difficult to read Marathi, some words bounce off my head :( - but over all, I like it, though I feel the English translation would have wowed me.
    - I also got 'Kitchen Counter Cooking School' from the library and am enjoying it, Thanks Nupur!

    Watching: A Marathi serial online: Honar soon me hya gharchi.

    Making: dinner! moogachi usal, farasbi chi bhaji ani polya.

    Planning: healthy and creative lunch boxes, school starts next week! (yaaaaaay!)

    Celebrating : My little one is celebrating 'rakshabandhan' with his Tai today.
    I am celebrating the start of school year (yaaaaay!) and the fact that summer is almost over.

    Many warm wishes and blessings to Dear Lila. Almost 2! I know everyone says this, but - already? :) Looking forward to her birthday cake.

    Congratulations to Neighbor Girl too! Good Luck.

    A big woof and hug to Duncan.

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    1. Oh I'm with you on the simple poli-bhaaji meals. They satisfy me like nothing else can. Good luck to you and your boy for the new school year!! Hope it is lots of fun, and hope you enjoy your new-found free time while kiddo is at school ;)

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  19. How are you so effortlessly amazing? :)

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    1. Are you sure you're commenting on the right blog? :)

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  20. Shubha from SydneyAugust 20, 2013 7:56 PM

    Nupur - as we are "ahead" of most parts of the world, we celebrated Narali Poornima yesterday and I made Naral Wadi for son's birthday. My late mother was the queen of Naral wadi and mine turned out really nice last night! I know you like them, wish I could send you some, but since that's not possible, may I have one for you :)

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    1. Oh yeah, please have TWO if you don't mind :)

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  21. Eating: The most awesome banana bread made by my 11yo daughter. And pizza by my husband who now cooks Italian food twice a week!
    Drinking: Gourmet tea and coffee at work. Our design team introduced me to local coffee roasters and I am hooked.
    Watching: Endeavour on PBS and looking forward to the next season of Foyle's war. Also watching Breaking Bad.
    Preparing for a year of kids in middle school and high school
    Reading: Miss Marple's short stories and McCall Smith's new book Trains and Lovers

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    1. Well, well, lucky to have to have a budding baker and Italian chef dishing out goodies!

      Ooh, I will have to look for Endeavor. Trains and Lovers is on my to-read list!

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  22. You are one amazing lady, Nupur.. I often wonder how you achieve so much.. hugs to Lila and you,

    Archana

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    1. No achievements, just having fun every day :) Hugs right back at ya!

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  23. Hello Nupur,
    One of your regular readers here..from Texas..
    Here's what I've been upto

    eating: Ate some yummy ravapongal, gothsu and chutney made by hubby last night, and yummy sweets for rakshabandhan. On rest of the days, I am a chai and namkeen addict. Love the Haldiram's 'CHAI PURI'

    reading: The china study, a very interesting book about the effect of food on our bodies.

    watching: Indian idol junior

    making: I'm not really the creative types, I think the last 'creative' thing I attempted to make was black forest cake and then mango cake respectively for two of my dear friends' birthdays.

    planning: Planning a lunch sans kiddo for our wedding anniv and then a dinner with the kiddo for the same occasion!

    celebrating: Celebrating last week of summer before school starts with lunches with friends, kids outings and lotsa fun stuff.

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    1. OMG another chai and namkeen addict? I can pretty much live on that stuff.

      How absolutely wonderful you are to make special cakes for your friends!

      Happy wedding anniversary and glad you're celebrating in style.

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  24. Nupur, its lovely how you always involve your readers and create this wonderful bond with us all...Here's my list

    Eating - Cherries, oranges and our new love - waffles
    Reading - Books by Indian authors. Done with the Shiva trilogy by Amish, now onto Ashwin Sanghi's books - done with Krishna Key, Chanakya's chant and now reading Rozabal line
    Really enjoy reading the fiction woven with lots of historical stories and tons of research

    Watching - The TV series I was hooked on to is over, so nothing for me on TV.

    Making - Gelatin-free Fondant at home, my first ever !

    Planning - to lose weight, like I always do :(

    Celebrating - a friend's birthday...want to make something really different and special for her

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    1. Oh I do miss reading books by Indian authors, it has been quite a while since I read one. All the ones you mention sound interesting.

      Waffles is a big thing in my home these days too, my husband is the waffle maker and we love big weekend brunches.

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  25. "What are you eating, reading, watching, making, planning and celebrating these days?"

    Eating - A whole lot of fruits! Apparently, GA's 'wet and weird' summer has resulted in a bumper fig crop. I buy them every week. Also peaches, nectarines, grapes, etc.

    Reading - "The English Patient," "Atonement" and "Norwegian Wood." Heavy stuff, perhaps? I love simple, light and meaningful fiction; that is the kind I gravitate to, always. However, I am trying to expand my reading preferences and end up bringing a serious fiction novel (or two) from the library every visit. Sadly, most of them are returned unread.

    Watching - No TV at home but I watch Malayalam movies on YouTube.

    Making - Raw carob-walnut-coconut fudge... Oh Yum! Post on my blog... :)

    Planning - Visit to India in December!

    Celebrating - End of summer and entry of Fall weather.

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    1. Oh really, I should look for figs! Love them but haven't seen any around here.

      I know what you mean about sort-of forcing yourself to read something beyond one's favorite genres. Like you, though, I love simple yet meaningful fiction.

      The fudge sounds amazing!

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    2. Send me some book recommendations, please? Simple, light and meaningful... along the lines of Alexander McCall Smith, maybe? Thanks so much!

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    3. Lakshmi, have you read McCall Smith's Isabel Dalhousie novels? I enjoyed that series too.

      One of the books I mentioned in this post, Wonder by RJ Palacio is definitely a simple but very meaningful read.

      I'm sure you've already read them, but if not, the books by James Herriot are wonderful.

      Others: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

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  26. Such a lovely post Nupur. Loved going through and catching up on some of the old ones too. Loved meeting Duncan. Happy Birthday to Lila, can't believe she's two already!

    Eating - a whole lot of different fruits and veggies.

    Reading - Americanah

    Making - lists as there will be transitions come september

    Watching - the bridge and Borgen

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    1. Thank you, dear Mandira! I started reading Americanah but at one point, just did not feel like reading my more so I quietly returned it to the library.

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  27. oh my such a gorgeous peach salsa,will go very well with buttered corn on the side...a must try for this weekend...
    Eating-fruits especially berries since their time is going to end for this year...

    Making-An embroidery and a batch of pot pourri for friends

    Celebrating-Recently celebrated Raksha Bandhan... :-)

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    1. Ooh I'd love to see what you're embroidering!

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  28. Oh yes, peanuts pressure cooked in brine is one of my favorites too. My Mom always makes it for me when I go to India. No wonder I always come back a few pounds heavier !

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  29. love boiled peanuts! here is my list - not very exciting
    Eating : lots of lentil and red cabbage salad, made a chana chaat on baked wonton wrappers yday to lighten up chaat. Not enough fruits in my diet though.
    reading : blogs and more blogs.
    watching : US Open tennis since this week. HUGE tennis fan.
    Making : trying out new/different things for my blog and Im the only one eating them.
    planning: a potential trip in Jan to Sydney to see my brother
    celebrating: Just celebrated raksha bandhan for my 2.5 yr old son (his cousin sent him a rakhi) - he kept saying "its my birthday its my birthday" all evening!
    Planning a day out on my upcoming anniversary labor day week.

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    1. Mmm- I love red cabbage too. So pretty :)

      Boy, it is been over a decade since I followed tennis with any interest. I don't even know the current players!

      SO cute that your son enjoyed his rakhi :) Happy anniversary!

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  30. Hello Nupur ...never tire of telling you this but you have a wonderful blog here..it's my go to place for a feel- good ..love reading your posts and the comments below it..the book recommendations by you and other readers come in so handy when I go into the library and sometimes look blankly at the shelves :)
    Eating : Going back to my roots and trying lot of Kerala and Mangalore dishes for the comfort feel
    reading : wanted to expand my horizon from thrillers. Reading Lord of the flies but quite embarrassed to say I'm just not getting through with it . Find it quite disturbing and does not resonate well with me

    Watching : House of cards..brilliant! Newsroom..again brilliant..Orange is the New black - not sure abt this like you and Under the Dome

    Planning: To make the best use of the last few weekends of ' summer' before the long nights set in

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    1. Thank you Sarah- you're so sweet to say that. It is SO much fun to see what everyone is up to.

      Kerala and Mangalore dishes sound amazing!

      Don't be embarrassed in the least about not enjoying Lord of the Flies. I know it is a hard novel to read. We like what we like and life is too short to read something you're not enjoying. My two cents :)

      BTW, I really got into "Orange is the new black" and have watched 9 of the episodes. You just get sucked into the stories of the women. It is a hard show to watch, of course the reality of prison life is much harsher I bet. I'll have to look up House of Cards and Newsroom.

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  31. thank you for reminding me about the newInspector Gamache book...i will def. pick it up from the library next time. Loved all the previous ones.

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    1. I've only read a couple of the previous ones- I'll have to look for the others.

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  32. Hi Nupur,
    Loved reading this post. While you are enjoying the seasonal bounty of Georgia peach, you should consider freezing some for the winter months!

    Here is my list which right now, is quite baby and toddler focused. What can I say, I am turning into an obsessive mommy :)

    eating: Wild Blueberries! These are currently in season here in Toronto, and my DS loves to pop 5-6 in his mouth at once.

    reading: I am reading a lot of cookbooks and online material to help plan meals for the week now that I am back to work full time. Eat well, Eat Raw by Douglas Mcnish has excellent ideas for a quick breakfast that the entire family can enjoy.

    Making: These days, I am all about mealsthat baby and the two parents can eat together on the table. To that end I have gotten into making different kinds of idlis -- Ragi idlis, sandwich idlis. Idlis are a blank canvas for color and flavor, no?

    watching: Not much to report on this end. We are waiting to return our cable box as soon as the contract is up. Occasionally, I watch how-to videos on you tube. Just watched a few today to learn the technique for making kozhukattais or modaks for the upcoming Ganpathi festival

    planning: It is the start of the hindu festive season! I am planning all the activities I want to do with my little 1 year old monster :) Time for mamma and baby to play dressup.

    celebrating: We just celebrated our little one's first birthday. I am still feeling in the celebratory mood! I got to know a lot of other moms who had their babies around the same time as me. I am really looking forward to celebrating their birthdays too!

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    1. I did freeze several mason jars of peeled and diced peaches :) My daughter loves it in her morning oatmeal. Wild blueberries sound fantastic. Yes, idlis are a great food that parents and toddlers can share. I love making different chutneys and keeping idlis plain. Congrats on the wee one's birthday :)

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    2. Hi Nupur,
      Can you describe in a little bit of detail how you froze the peaches? I have been getting tons via my CSA fruit share and I want to freeze some this weekend. I googled it, and most recommendations involve blanching and peeling - did you do all of that?

      Priya

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    3. Priya- I start by peeling the peaches. Sometimes the peel slips right off, other times I dunk the peaches in boiling water for a minute, then ice water for a minute to coax the peel off. Then I remove the pits and dice the peaches. I toss them in a couple of spoons of sugar and then fill them into mason jars and freeze. Don't know if this is the official method, but it works for me. I thaw a jar overnight in the fridge and use it as topping for oatmeal/pancakes.

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    4. Okay - thanks. I'll try that. I've been putting a lot of food away for the winter this year and it's my first time doing that. I live in New England where winters are harsh and produce is hard to come by January through May. I feel like the ant from the ant and grasshopper story =)

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  33. wow, time flies - happy second birthday to dear Lila!

    On our side, we are enjoying summer as much as we can:
    Eating: lot of blueberries and jujubes whose season has just started at farmer's market. Jujube is also called chinese apple - more like our big ber (or bora) we get in India - so yummy and they are only here for few weeks so we grab as much as we can :)

    Reading: Jane Austen's complete work - its a big 1000 page collection of her 7 novels and short stories; I am going to keep enjoying well into Fall it seems!

    Watching: US open tennis!

    Planning: our November vacation - it's also Vedika's birthday we take a week off and enjoy a family getaway - luckily she was born around thanksgiving to allow for a natural vacation :)

    celebrating: last few weeks of summer by picnics and eat-outs.

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    1. Oh yes, I remember eating jujube (boreh), they taste kinda funky- definitely an acquired taste that I never quite acquired ;)

      OMG Jane Austen's complete works!!!

      Your tradition of a family vacation around Vedika's birthday is ever so sweet. Enjoy what's left of summer!

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