Friday, January 29, 2010

What a week!!!


WOW! what a week this has been...
Since a lot of my friends have been curious about what has been going on in my life since last week.Too much suspense :)
Well,Here it is...
I got invited to California by my favorite trainer in the whole world,Mari Winsor.She called me on Wednesday ,Jan 20Th about my weightloss and kept telling me how proud she was of me.During our phone conversation she mentioned something about the shooting of her new infomercial and asked me if I'd be interested in traveling to California and working out with her...ofcourse I said,yes :) I didn't know what was coming our way next!!! :D
I got a call from her producer on Thursday around 6pm,confirming if I can travel on Sunday for a video shoot at the Winsor Pilates Studios ...obviously it was a pleasant surprise for me.My first thought was...I ALWAYS WANTED TO WORKOUT WITH MARI!!!! second thought was...HOW THE HECK AM I GONNA BE ABLE TO PACK AND TRAVEL AT SUCH A SHORT NOTICE!!!
I am SO thankful that Maani was able to take a few days off and accompanied me and Waaiz on this exciting trip.He somehow manages to make fun things even better for me :D I just TOTALLY adore my man!
We arrived in Santa Monica on Sunday,met Mari at her fabulous studio on Monday,shot the video all day long.It was so much fun! I met couple of other trainers from her Hollywood and Santa Monica Pilates Studios.Everyone was fabulous and SO SWEET!
Mari was kind enough to invite me and Waaiz for a workout session on Tuesday as her gift for me and Waaiz :) Which was awesome.
It was a very blessed and fun trip,we met so many wonderful people,made fabulous friends,went places.Maani got to eat at his favorite diner in Hawthorne,CA,where he went about 12 years ago when he first came to California.
Waaiz was the hit of the shooting days...everyone ADORED little Waaiz! He got 3 tickets to Disneyland as a GIFT!!! What a blessing.
We just got back from California last night and I PROMISE I will write more about how all this happened and post pictures from our trip,VERY SOON!!!
I hated to keep all of you in suspense but my tongue and hands were tied :) I had to keep it to myself until the shooting was completed.There are still some pictures that I cannot post until the infomercial is officially released.So hang tight!!!
I really appreciate all the best wishes and prayers you guys sent my way!Y'all ROCK!!!
Oh...if you remember my post about our wedding anniversary,I mentioned about celebrating two anniversaries in January.well, we celebrated a decade of being married to each other just yesterday,January 28Th! Happy Anniversary Maani...what a fun way to celebrate our love and life :)
Life is good.
Till next time...bye!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

seeing green :)

We are seeing green :) specially green lentils,my favorite thing to eat.
This blog post is specially for Jennifer Leah,who is a big fan of lentils just like me.She asked me to share a few ways to cook lentils.So here it is!
This is a very basic way to cook what most Americans call "Indian" food :) it consists of cooking up a base gravy with onions,spices and tomatoes.Once you get that idea down...you can pretty much cook anything you want...you can add vegetables,chicken,meats etc.
So here it is... first you start out by rinsing your lentils and then leaving them soaked in water in a bowl.
Then you add tiny bit of oil in a wok or a saute' pan.I added 1 1/2 Tsp of olive oil.
Take 1/2 cup of chopped onions and add them to the medium hot oil.Be careful not to burn yourself :)
Continue cooking the onions until they look like this:
Now add 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
Bring the heat to a medium low and add:
1 Teaspoon or less of crushed chili flakes(optional)
1 Teaspoon of ground coriander powder
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of salt(to taste)
stir,keep a container of water handy,just in case your oil is too hot and your spices starts to burn as soon as you add them to the onions.If that happens,then you can add just about 2 tablespoons of water to the pan.
Now, take 1 Tablespoon of fresh ground ginger and garlic( you can use fresh garlic only as well and add 1/4 tsp of ginger powder) I like to use fresh ginger and garlic straight from the freezer and crush them.
Stir.
Now there are few ways to execute the next step, you can get away easy by using (a) 1 1/2 Teaspoon of Tomato paste,
(b) using chopped fresh tomatoes
(c) following my directions :)
I like to freeze tomatoes.I learnt this neat trick from my mom,I always saw her freezing tomatoes...and then taking them out whenever she was cooking.She'd soak them in a bowl of water for a few minutes,by the time it was their turn to be added to the gravy,their skins were perfectly thawed.She'd just peel their skins and chop the tomatoes and add them to the gravy.That way you never see those pesky tomato skins in your food. I do the same thing.
For these lentils, you can use 2 medium size tomatoes.
This is what your mixture should look like.(I added chopped Serrano peppers in there too :D)
At this point, it needs a little bit more cooking.kick the heat up pretty close to High.
After 10 minutes of occasional stirring...tada!!!
Now drain the water out of the lentils.
Add them to your tomato gravy.
add enough water to coat 1" over the lentils.
let it boil,let it boil, let it boil :)
Once it starts boiling bring the heat down to a Medium High.
once you see that the water has come up to the Lentil's level...bring the heat to Low and cover the pan with a lid.Let it simmer for another 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes...TADA!!!
now sprinkle this with some fresh chopped cilantro and parsley and dig in with your spoon :) atleast that's exactly what me and Waaiz did ! It was delicious.
You can serve this with Whole Wheat pita bread.Top it off with a little bit of salsa and hummus and make a sandwich in between two heavenly slices of your favorite whole wheat bread...the possibilities are endless.
Now...get cooking :) Don't forget to tell me how yours turned out.till next time..Go green!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

#9

yes I am on Cloud #9.Maani and I will be celebrating our 9years together on Jan11Th.
We were actually married 10 years ago on January 28Th,2000, but my parents refused to give me up that year,as I still had one last year of college left :) so poor Maani came,signed the papers for our wedding in a nice happy ceremony filled with friends and family and went back to Boston.
Then right after college ended in December 2000,our wedding reception date was set for Jan 11Th ,2001. So here we are after 9 years. So this January we will be celebrating our 9years as a couple on Jan 11Th and 10 years being married to each other on Jan 28Th.complicated,eh! LOL!
Here we are, at our wedding reception on Jan 11Th,2001.
A lot of my friends ask me ,if I had to go back and change one thing what would it be...hmmm, I say I'd go back and marry him sooner :) just so I get to spend more time with him!
Many of my friends hear me call him an angel...which he truely is...those who know him personally will agree! I wish I could have a heart like his,so kind and self less.Two of the best and rare qualities in humans.
9 Years together... and I have never seen him angry,heard him yell,gossip about anyone,discouraging,insulting or taking advantage of anyone!Most of all...he has ALWAYS supported me in anything I wanted to do...he corrected me whenever I was wrong,encouraged and praised me in more ways I can imagine.People talk about my cakes and craft skills and I thank God and then I thank Maani... for he is the one who kept telling me I could do anything!
I owe him my life...I wish I could do more for him,I wish there were more ways to thank him for what he has done and does for me everyday!
I am so glad he chose me to share the journey of his life.I don't know where I would be if I wasn't married to him.Most definitely living a miserable life :) as he is definitely a VERY unusual desi guy!I have NEVER met anyone with SO MUCH UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!!! You are definitely my angel.You most definitely deserve a much better person than me,someone who is an angel like you!
So baby! THANK YOU for choosing to spend your time with me and Waaiz ,rather than watching some silly game with your friends.THANK YOU for helping me with a million little things around the house.THANK YOU for understanding my moods and complains,and being patient with me :)
THANK YOU for being YOU!!! I love you just the way you are.
I remember a few years ago you gave me a cute little frame for our anniversary and it said something that I want to share here :) This is what my heart is singing for you and your love today.
I LOVE YOU... FOR SEEING ME AS I WISH I WERE...
FOR HEARING WHAT I MEAN AND NOT JUST WHAT I SAY...
FOR KNOWING HOW I FEEL...
FOR HELPING ME LEARN TO LOVE!
Thanks for giving me this beautiful and blessed life!
- H

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stuffed Chicken Breast! YUM!!!

I wanted to try something different and yummy this week and I found a similar recipe online and it used a lot of cheese,bacon and some sort of stuffing mix.I don't use any of these things,so I came up with a "healthier" version of stuffed chicken breasts.They were quick,easy and yummy.The boys LOVED them! SCORE :D
Here is how I made them.
Drizzle 1 teaspoon of Olive oil in a nice skillet,spray with Pam spray. then add about 3/4 cup of chopped onions.Saute the onions until they are tender and have a nice golden shade to them.
Then add about 3/4 cup of chopped green/red/ yellow bell pepper.I had green ones on hand,so I just added those.Stir them while you chop the rest of the ingredients :)

1/2 cup of chopped carrots went in there too .

LOTS of Mushrooms, I love mushrooms so I added about 3/4 cup of mushrooms.Add them to the skillet and continue cooking at medium high heat and stir occasionally.

W guy came in the kitchen while I was chopping parsley and he requested peas and corns to be added as well :) so I just threw in 1/4 cup of peas and 1/4 cup of corn in there too.

Then I added, salt,black pepper 1/4 Teaspoon, Cayenne pepper 1/4 Teaspoon, dried oregano and dried basil to the veggies.

Add 1/2 bunch of fresh chopped Parsley YUM!!! You can also use the dried parsley as well,but I keep fresh Parsley in my fridge all the time :)

Then I added 1 Teaspoon of Tomato paste just to give the veggies a nice tangy/sweet coating.

see the steam coming :) It smelled SO good!The veggies are half cooked at this point and now you can turn the heat OFF.

Add some chopped fresh Spinach...about 2 cups :) I love spinach so I added lots of it!Now take the mixture out in a bowl and set it aside for a tiny while so it can cool for a bit,while we work on the chicken.

I took chicken breast and cut it into thin fillets.See the thickness of the fillet! probably about 1/8" thick.
there all nice and thin :)

Since I am such a sucker for flavors..and absolutely do not like my food to taste blah..so I marinated the chicken fillets with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice,fresh crushed garlic 3 cloves(Or you can use 1 Tablespoon ginger/garlic paste) ,salt, 1/4 Teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 Teaspoon of Cayenne pepper. YUM!

After 30 mins or so...I started preheating the oven at 475'.And sprayed a Lasagna dish with PAM spray and drizzled 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil at the bottom.Take out almost half of the veggies filling in separate bowl and add 1 egg white to it and mix it well.This acts as a binding agent for the stuffing so it doesn't fall out of the chicken roll when you try to cut into it :)
Then,I took each fillet and put a heaping teaspoon of the veggie filling we made earlier and rolled it up and secured it with a toothpick.Start arranging them in your baking dish. Pour the remaining half of the veggie stuffing around the rolls in your baking dish.


Then I baked it for oh about 20 minutes.They smelled DIVINE!!! W man LOVED these...he kept checking the oven every 5 minutes just because he could hardly wait for them to be done,so he could eat these =) Maani and I really loved these as well.
Doesn't this look appetizing!

OK kids! now get in your kitchen and try this recipe.Don't forget to tell me how you liked it,if you made any changes to it to make it even more healthier and yummier!I'd love to hear from ya.