Sunday, April 26, 2015

The List: April 2015

April is my birthday month and always an interesting time for taking stock of my life. I spent the month having a mini existential crisis ("What am I doing with my life?"), catching up with old friends who call/e-mail with birthday wishes and consoling myself that age is just a number and the best is yet to come. Meanwhile, many of my quilter friends are decades older than me and when I tell them how old I am, they swat me away, saying, "Oh sugar, you're only a baby. Just you wait."

This was also a whirlwind month for us. V was out of the country most of this month. And now I'm off to Africa for a few weeks for work. One Hot Stove might be pretty quiet over the next month or so, but I wanted to leave you all with a little round-up of the highlights of this month.

Cooking: I got turnips again in last week's veggie box and since two readers suggested that I make turnip sambar, that's just what I made. This right here is officially my favorite way of eating turnips now. The turnips soaked up the tamarind and spice and were just perfect.

To go with the turnip sambar, I made some sautéed cabbage- tender and juicy, it is a great rice substitute to my taste. With a dollop of ghee, it made for a most satisfying meal.

Baking: Carrot cake. I used this recipe from The Kitchn, halved it and made it in an 8 inch round pan, and made a lighter frosting with much less sugar. Carrot cake and Spring, they just go together so well.

Reading a lot of random magazines and only a few actual books- On Immunity by Eula Biss, The Kitchn Cookbook by Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand and Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Laura Markham.

Watching intense documentaries on Netflix: Touching the Void- an incredible tale of mountaineering and survival, Dear Zachary- a documentary tribute by the filmmaker to his murdered friend, Into the Abyss about a death penalty case in Texas.

I also watched a couple of movies (again, movies that everyone else on planet Earth has seen years ago)- Groundhog Day and Bridget Jones' Diary- both were good fun, and Dirty Dancing- I've loved that last dance scene and song forever but finally saw the whole movie.

A friend recommended Smilla's Sense of Snow so I watched it, and thought it was full of atmosphere but with the most absurd plot. And my all-time favorite show is now on Netflix- M*A*S*H- and that makes me so happy.

Laughing at Lila and Duncan. Our gentle giant puppy Duncan has finally stopped growing. I think. He was 95 lbs in January, 95 lbs of pure goofy sweetness. He loves little kids, he loves people, he loves other dogs, he even loves cats. And people love him- we can't take him anywhere without people stopping to coo over him.

Duncan is big enough that he feels like he can get away with anything. I caught him sitting on my bed atop the freshly laundered sheets and yelled at him to get off. Lila heard me, marched into the room and said, "Mama, you yelled at Dunkie and that hurts his feelings. Please can you ask him nicely? Try again." So not only do I have an over-sized dog who won't listen to me, but I have a over-sized dog who won't listen to me and who has his own spokesperson.

Lila is at the age (3) where kids are highly entertaining. Lila is in a hurry to grow up. She can't wait to be 5 years old like the cool older kids in her class. She asked me, "Mama, when I am 5 years old, can I drink coffee, use markers and wear a bra?" I told her she could do one of those three things, but she can't use markers till she's 10.

They teach her all kinds of things in preschool. Lila came home talking about Abraham Lincoln. Who's Abraham Lincoln, I asked her. "He's the cutest president of the United States".

Tell me what you're been eating, reading, watching and laughing at. 

I will be back to the blog in a few weeks, when I return from Kenya- my first trip to Africa. Wish me luck! 

52 comments:

  1. Good luck in Kenya!

    I had to laugh at Lila's description of Lincoln. President Lincoln thought of himself as homely.

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    1. I know- Lincoln has been called many things, but "cute" might be a first :)

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  2. omg!! I was rotfl reading Lila's conversations. She is the cutest!
    I have been eating berries and ice cream aplenty! Reading nothing at this moment, but I do have couple of books from the library that I will start during the week. Watching .. Agatha Christie murder series on Netflix. Laughing at: well, Lila's talk for one. Also, our 19 month old was hungry and he pointed to his own nipples and demanded dudu! Also, he is at an age where he is finding his own farts hilarious. He will burst into giggles after he releases air! And that makes me laugh (which in turn makes him believe that it is something to be laughed at, and he will giggle some more!). tmi for a food blog? :D
    Anywho, all the best for Africa! It will be exciting..Have fun :)

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    1. Neha- thanks for the great laugh. Kids are so refreshing unselfconscious :) Mine is also all about the potty humor. And her dad encourages it!

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  3. Happy Birthday Nupur! April happens to be my B'day month too.
    it's getting really hot in India, but the sight and taste of sweet mangoes and jaamuns makes summer slightly bearable.
    I have not been able to read much, but yes i have started knitting again. Finished knitting a scarf and will be finishing another one soon.
    My diet include lots of yoghurt these days. we make either salted lassi (mattha) or aambil which helps you sail thru the summers.
    planning to make ragda pattice this week,
    africa! WOW njoy!

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    1. Happy Birthday to you as well :) Ah mangoes. Miss them. Eat some for me please.

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  4. OMG that picture of Lila and Dunkie is the most heartwarming thing ever! Thanks for sharing that. Here's my April highlights:
    Cooking: Lots of kale and swiss chard from the backyard chopped up and sauteed with garlic and then tossed into quesadillas and eaten with smashed avocados. The greens are finally starting to slow down - getting the beds ready for summer tomatoes :-). I got a boatload of carrots at the farmers market this weekend and a giant cabbage - so your idea of sambar (with carrots for me) and sauteed cabbage sounds like just the thing!
    Baking: lots of cookies for the kid lunchbox - none of which I have cared for, but the child and husband have loved. I just checked out the Milk bar cookbook from the library and am totally intrigued by the "compost" cookies. So a version of that is next on my list as well as Nigella's chocolate marmalade cake (mostly to use up my gigantic stash of homemade marmalade - we have a kumquat tree that is perpetually laden).
    Reading: I've been on a cookbook reading binge - all checked out from the library - Deborah Madison's vegetarian cooking for everyone, the Tassajara cookbook, Milk bar cookbook, Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert, the Vegetarian epicure, etc. Even when the narrative has been short, I get such pleasure from just reading the lists of ingredients. My husband thinks its very strange, but oh well.....
    Watching: Not much, can't stay awake for long in front of the TV. Just occasional clips of Jimmy Fallon segments.
    Laughing: I've got a 3 yo and a 4.5 yo and yes, they are immensely entertaining. Especially when they have "serious" conversations just between the two of them - oh.....listening to those bits just makes me burst with joy and laughter and everything in between.
    Hope you have a beautiful and safe trip to Kenya!! Can't wait to hear about your adventures when you get back.
    Prashanti

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    1. Prashanti- You've had a rocking April! I've heard of the compost cookies and they are on my bucket list. And like you, I read cookbooks like novels too. Don't worry, we are totally normal ;) Thanks for the good wishes!

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  5. Thanks for the lowly pic of Lila and Dunkie! Aww, kids grow up so fast...why??
    Best luck with your trip Nupur, have fun :)

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  6. Belated Happy Birthday Nupur! I often get caught in the 'what am I doing with my life' phase around my birthday ever since I've stepped in my 30's. I really feel you are doing so great from the snippets of your life that you share here. Best wishes to you on your trip to Africa, wave a friendly Hi to Mme Ramotswe when you are flying over the African sky for me. :-)

    Lila and Duncan are so adorable! That picture of them is so precious. My jaw dropped on reading Lila's question to you. LOL!

    We are eating lots of veggies mostly cooked in different Indian styles paired with dals/beans for lunch and will be starting with salads this week for dinner..we are also enjoying a sweet watermelon. I am reading 'Better than Before' by Gretchen Rubin, I realized that I am a Questioner and once I am 100% convinced of something I treat it like an Upholder. I also realized that I used to be an Obliger when I was younger. I am watching 'Classic Legends' by Javed Akhtar on Youtube and laughing during my zumba class, it makes me so incredibly happy.

    - Priti

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    1. Priti- I totally thought of Mma Ramotswe when the trip came up :) Looking forward to visiting her beautiful continent. Better Than Before is on my to-read list, I'll probably wait for the library copy. I do like her blog. And I'm 100% obliger.

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  7. OMG, Lila is already 3 and she is such a sweetheart. I wish kids can grow a little slower :-(
    I'm slowly moving towards eating more whole grains and less processed foods. This is going to be a very very slow, but I'm glad I've at least thought about it.
    If you think reading about gardening and DIY landscaping on the internet is 'reading', then that is what I've been doing. We are planning to redo our front & back yards, so I've been looking for inspirations everywhere.
    We have been catching up on old Telugu movies :-)
    I'm laughing at my goofy son's corny jokes and my 2.5 year old's cute talk :0)
    Have a good trip to Africa. Hope to see lots of pics from there (hopefully you'll have time to sight see). Good luck!!

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    1. Landscaping- how fun!!! My yard is an overgrown mess- yikes. Would love to get some of it cleaned up before the blistering hot summer arrives and it gets too hot to work outside. Thanks for the wishes!

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  8. oh wow! Africa for work must be exciting - All the best. Loved reading about Lila and Duncan - both are in the best of their age!!

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    1. Thanks so much :) Yes, it is a super cute for both kiddos.

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  9. Belated Birthday Wishes, dear Nupur!
    Good Luck and hope you have a great time in Kenya and I can't wait to read all about it.
    I am watching M*A*SH* and it is my favorite show too (I'm at season 9)!
    Lila and Dunkie ( Vaghoba) are absolutely adorable. Lots of love and a big hug to both.

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    1. Isn't MASH the best? Thanks for your sweet compliments and wishes!! You should meet the vaghoba in person, he is a sweetie.

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  10. Bon voyage, Nupur! Will look forward to reading about your travels once you're back.
    What a lovely photo of Lila and Duncan! It brought a broad smile to my face :))

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    1. Thanks Kamini! You'll have to come and meet Duncan in person. He's a total love-bug.

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  11. Awww that picture of Lila and Dunkie is adorable!! Kids can be so entertaining :)

    Africa sounds amazing and I hope you have a great time. Be safe!

    I have eaten turnip parathas made by a friend and they were spectacular. I bet the sambar was tasty too.

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    1. Thanks very much! Turnip parathas sound good too.

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  12. Happy Birthday Nupur and safe travels! Have a great time!

    Love the pic of Lila and Duncan, I totally went awwww!

    My son is two and is absolutely in a hurry to grow up, especially because of his 5 year old sister. He thinks she gets to do the coolest things. I think I may have said once that she goes on a play date by herself because she's a big girl so the other day he said, "I can go on a play date now because I'm a big girl". Kids are totally entertaining.

    I'm always having mini existential crises. Welcome to my world.

    I'm currently not cooking much because I basically sliced a good chunk of my pinkie off while slicing cabbage on a mandoline slicer. It involved an ER trip and me cursing myself for not being careful enough. I'm on the mend though and will hopefully be better next week.

    -Anu

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    1. Hi Anu- Thanks so much for the wishes!! And your kids sound adorable. Funny how the little ones want to grow up too fast. I'm like, "someone else is paying the bills for you. Enjoy it while you can" :) So sorry about your kitchen mishap :( that must HURT. Take care!

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  13. Good luck on your trip to Africa. How exciting. Love Lila's comments. I've discovered several goodreads- Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons, Green for Danger by Christianna Brand and the Darling Buds of May by HE Bates. Eating a variety of fresh fruit and veg. Eating mushrooms in stir fries a lot. Enjoying the warmth of spring! Arpita

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    1. Hi Arpita- So glad you are enjoying Spring- you all up North deserve a really fantastic Spring this year. I've been missing my cozy mysteries. Will have to do some summer reading.

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  14. Eating: Hmm, tried a few new recipes that turned out well. Lunch yesterday was green plantain and chickpea Ghassi (http://sattvaa.blogspot.com/2015/04/ghassi-delectable-konkani-fare-when-you.html) with brown rice. LOVED it. Tweaked the recipe a fair bit (used kala chana instead of chhole, reduced the number of red chillies, steamed the plantains, added cumin). Made a version of Sindhi kadi the night before but it was strictly so-so. Another discovery has been moong hummus (http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/mung-bean-hummus-recipe.html). I used split green moong. It was yummy! We enjoyed it as a sandwich spread with lots of sliced raw veggies as the filling.

    Reading: Not very satisfied with my local library's offerings. :( Planning to go again this weekend and do a dedicated search for some of the books on my to-read list. Re-reading "La's Orchestra Saves the world."

    Watching: Nothing! We don't have a cable subscription. I keep watching old Malayalam films on Youtube. :)

    Laughing at: My husband's PJs (pakaao jokes).

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    1. You're eating well, Lakshmi!! I have to look up some of those recipes.

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  15. Have a great trip nupur & belated happy bday!

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  16. After all the work you have done for Africa, this trip is well deserved! Enjoy yourself on the trip and I know you will come back with lots of stories to share. Lila is definitely on the right track protecting Dunkie. Mommies always have it tough scolding when they want to laugh. Love the pic. You take care and have a safe trip.

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    1. Thanks Anjali! Just got back from Africa and it was fantastic.

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  17. HI Nupur. Awww both your daughter and puppy are so cute! Best friends forever! :D Enjoy your trip, it would be awesome!!

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    1. Thanks Nancy! The puppy is three times bigger than the daughter but somehow she still manages to be the big boss.

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  18. Lila is so adorable! I loved that age, when kids say the funniest things. I noted some of my son's best lines from back then and I re-read it when I need a chuckle.
    Bon voyage! Looking forward to hearing your travel stories and your culinary discoveries in Kenya.

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    1. I need to note down some of these lines, Niranjana. I mean I'm noting them on the blog from time to time but I really don't want to forget these one liners :)

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  19. Have a safe trip and best wishes, Nupur!

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  20. As someone who has been reading your blog since A to Z of Marathi food days, very glad to see how you and your family are doing, and appreciate the work you do on the blog while having a busy professional life.

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    1. Thanks APB for this sweet note. I don't have any big professional life to speak of but do love my rather humble job.

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  21. Happy Birthday to you and hope you are having a fun vacation! I wanted to mention another turnip recipe that's become a favorite of mine. It's Anita's Turnips & Lotus root . I've never made it with lotus root and its still really good.

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    1. Ooh if I get turnips again I'll have to try this. Anita has such fantastic recipes.

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  22. (Belated) Happy Birthday, fellow Taurean.
    This picture of Lila and Duncan is precious.
    Have a fun trip to Kenya, can't wait to hear about it.

    Happy Mother's Day!

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    1. And a belated happy birthday to you too!! And hope you got spoiled a little on Mother's Day. I spent mine far away from the family, sigh.

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  23. Wishing you a belated happy birthday Nupur! Love to Lila.
    Best wishes, Rehana

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  24. Belated bday wishes Nupur. Lila and Duncan look so adorable. That's a precious 3 year old you have. Is that a handmade quilt on the chair?

    This month I've been cutting down on carbs due to a 2-hour glucose tolerance test which I failed. Your blog gives me lots of ideas on how to cut down carbs and up the veggies. So thank you and keep up the good work.
    -J

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    1. J- Yes, that is a handmade quilt- I made it last year. My first "real" quilt.

      Sorry about your glucose tolerance test :( Cutting carbs is very doable. Wishing you the very best of luck.

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  25. Lila and Duncan are very cute and adorable! Hope you had a good trip to Kenya! And happy belated birthday!
    -Sapna

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Thank you for taking the time to say hello!