Monday, May 27, 2024

Resurfacing After a Break

It has been several weeks since I sat down to write a blog post. I have no idea where the last few weeks sped by- it was a whirlwind. School is out for summer and the end of the school year is always a packed schedule of moving-on ceremonies, dances, and recitals. I am grateful that both kids have had a good school year- with ups and downs, to be sure- but with a nice group of friends and loving teachers to help them along. 

My companions for the
last 4 months
Apart from the usual things, I've been busy with another project. Some time ago, I had the somewhat crazy idea of taking my newfound interest in fitness to the next level and getting a certification in the field. At the start of the year, I enrolled in the NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) personal trainer certification program, and have been attending lectures, studying every inch of this textbook, making copious notes, and essentially reliving my student days in my "free time". 

This weekend, I went to a standardized testing center in Atlanta to take my exam, thankfully passed it (it was harder than the 8 practice exams I took!!) and as of yesterday, I am officially an NASM CPT (certified personal trainer). I undertook this certification not to change careers or anything, but in order to be my own trainer, and help any of my family/friends who are interested. My head is buzzing with ideas to share my new-found knowledge and excitement. 

Dinner at La Semilla
While in Atlanta for the exam, we had a rare splurgy dinner at a wonderful vegan restaurant, La Semilla in Reynoldstown. So fancy and absolutely delicious. It is a treat to be able to order anything from the menu. And now I want flower petals sprinkled on everything I eat! 

Pictured clockwise from top left: batter-fried lion's mane mushrooms, Enmoladas Con Verduras, strawberry tres leches cake, Chochoyotes (dumplings)- this was easily one of the best dishes I've ever tasted. We also had the Croquetas de Jamón and the queso blanco- both amazing. And interesting cocktails and agua fresca. If you're ever in ATL, I highly recommend this place. Also, go walk on the charming beltline (trails) near the restaurant. 

While I loved the lion's mane mushrooms dish pictured above, my personal favorite fried mushrooms are found closer to home in a bar here in town- it is what I chose for my birthday lunch a few weeks ago.

Fried oyster mushrooms with lemon aioli
and a whippet- a cocktail of gin and grapefruit juice

I don't have a recipe to share today, but have a new staple in my pantry that I've been using a lot lately- soy curls. These are a dried product made with 100% soybeans as the only ingredient. I bought a bulk box that will last us for months. It is nice to mix up my usual protein sources- beans, lentils, tofu- as you can cook soy curls in a hundred different ways. These are two soy curl dishes we loved recently. 

Soy curls makhani
(a take on butter chicken)

Soy curls- broccoli stir fry
with steamed rice and mixed greens

Other assorted pics from recent days---

My daughter and her friends made
this Chinese street snack- tanghulu- fresh fruit with a
shiny and crunchy sugar coating

Gardenias and magnolias
are blooming!

Light filtering through the leaves
on an urban trail walk yesterday

How was the month of May for you? Share your highlights! 


  1. Nupur! You never cease to amaze me! Your zest for learning new things is so inspiring. Congratulations on the latest feather in your cap.
    I have never eaten lion's mane mushrooms, although I've heard they are good for you. Do you like their flavour?
    Lovely to see the flowers blooming! I must now check out soy curls and tanghulu.
    Have a lovely summer!

    1. Kamini- thank you- you are so kind and encouraging always! It made me feel alive to learn something new at my age and reminded me that lifelong learning is a core value for me and keeps me from feeling like every day is the same.

      It was my first time eating lion's mane mushrooms- they taste interesting. I liked them but they were a tad fishy. We are huge mushroom lovers and I must say I prefer oyster mushrooms and chanterelles to the lion's mane.

      Enjoy your summer!!

  2. And why shouldn't you have flower petals on every meal!!! That vegan restaurant sounded amazing.

    Your new found love of soy curls is interesting - I have seen them in recipes but never been sure they are for me. Sylvia has a new found love of potato noodles at a local Asian supermarket so maybe we could find soy curls there.

    Congratulation on your personal training accreditation - it doesn't seem long ago you were taking up the weight training and here you are now as the expert! Also can't believe it is the end of the school holidays. Enjoy them. I am trying to ride my bike more and wishing the evenings weren't dark so early but am enjoying wearing some fingerless mittens I bought in Edinburgh.

    1. LOL yes, flower petals for everyone! Soy curls are a product of a US company but I think Asian stores may have similar products. I like that it is a high-protein product that is shelf-stable and versatile. Potato noodles sound interesting and I've never tasted those!!

      Thank you for your kind words :) I am no expert but have learned a lot while doing this accreditation. Excited to keep going with this.

      Here we are enjoying sunlight late into the evening, but the heat and humidity is ramping up quickly. Enjoy your cozy winter months! It is wonderful that you bike around town- that's something I have not done for years.

  3. Hi Nupur . Do you order the soy curls online or get in from any store . Can you share the brand name too please .

    1. I bought a bulk box online directly from the company- Butler Foods.

  4. Congratulations Nupur. I have made a note of the vegan restaurant in Atlanta and hope to try it in near future. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. It was a great meal and I was glad we went. Hope you enjoy it if you end up going. The Chochoyotes is my top recommendation although everything we tasted was great.

  5. Congrats Nupur and Happy Birthday

  6. Hi Nupur - I love your blog. I’ve been religiously following your quinoa dosa recipe and it is great. Today I made the zucchini chutney using your recipe - I added a soon to wither tomato and it tasted great . On to your idli recipe next :)

    1. Hi Heera- Thank you :) I haven't made the quinoa dosa in a while! The zucchini chutney is a fave this time of year.

      Last time I made my idli recipe (it is a solid, well-tested one) it inexplicably failed. Idli does have a mind of its own, unlike dosa which rarely fails :D

  7. Congratulations on the end of the school year! Happy belated birthday wishes! And a huge congrats on becoming a CPT!!
    I would love for you to share tips and tricks along the way for fitness. I am also into fitness for the last few years and would love to hear more. Especially in perimenopause fitness has become really critical to me.

    1. Thank you, Sangeetha! I appreciate all your wishes!

      Yes, I'd love to share what I have learned. I'll definitely share some on the blog but if you're interested in a "fitness chat" zoom call (free, obviously) drop me an email.

    2. I would love to have a fitness chat! Will send you an email.

  8. Congratulations, Nupur! You are amazing in how you manage so many activities, work, children, their activities, home…
    Rose petal garnish sounds so fancy!
    Apla nahi tar, ghatli kothimbir ki zhala. :D
    I am near ATL and if you come this way, I do hope you will visit me. I would
    Love that!

    1. Thank you so much :) This semester felt crazy and I am glad I can catch a breather this summer. I would love to meet up sometime- how do you like living near ATL?

      Kothimbir garnish always and forever, and rose petals every once in a blue moon ;)

    2. Do you plan on sharing some fitness tips on OHS? That would be so amazing.
      I like Johns Creek a lot, (but I do miss Utah, sometimes).
      Please let me know if you’re coming here again (I am going to India next week, for 4 weeks to visit my father).

  9. Congratulations on your Personal Trainer certification, Nupur! I began prioritizing my fitness during the pandemic and would look forward to knowing more about the fitness aspect and any tips you may have.

    1. Thanks, Pallavi! I'll share fitness tips on the blog now and then, but if you're interested in a (free) fitness consultation via zoom, please email me: OneHotStove AT gmail DOT com


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