Little things…

Well before I did this posting I briefly considered if I should go ahead and change the ‘About’ section in my blog, as this article is not necessarily within the theme of the blog. And also, ever since I started blogging I am feeling the need to express my opinion on everything which I am starting to curb, as I really do not think the world is ready for it. (LOL)

This reminds me of one of the episodes on the show ‘The Office’. For Office followers this may resonate more. There is this character called Creed, he is weird to say the least and does not always say the most appropriate things. Well, he wants to start a blog. This was from an episode couple of years ago maybe. So he asks the office geek, Ryan to help him. You see scenes of Creed typing feverishly and talking about his blog. Then they pan in and you can see Creed typing in Microsoft word :p…with a URL on the top. Ryan chips in saying that he is saving the world from Creed’s thoughts J….LOL, which is exactly what Ajit suggested I do when I wanted to start blogging.

Anyway after that pointless introduction comes the ‘Oh so cute’ part of this blog. Shameless promotion of their kids activities is second nature to parents I guess. I never ‘got’ it before I became a mom. See I grew up with tons of dogs and if you ever met a dog owner am sure at some point of time you wished that they would really shut up about their dog J I used to be the sharer in that arrangement and now I think of the tons of people who would have wanted me to shut up. Now that I have a kid it has become worse!! I want to shout to the world every little thing he does, facebook helps a bit, but what more than doing it on my own blog…so now I introduce a new category ‘Shameless promotions of my child’s antics’. All articles shall be tagged so people who want to avoid can and those who want to coo over the things he says now, can please continue to follow.

If alone I was technically savvy I would have videos of him doing stuff, but I have to be satisfied with me narrating what happened. See when someone comes home, it is a natural thing to ‘show off’ your little one. Little A can now count 1 to 10, identify all shapes, all alphabets and wait for it….READ. He now ‘reads’ alphabets in the words he sees. Recently at a wedding we went to, he reads the ‘Bride Name’ weds’ Groom name’ board letter by letter with no help….and if you had panned the camera you would have seen 2 kinda awestruck and beaming parents. So when your little one does so much that you can show off, I ask why not?

Am sure as he grows up he will be subject to more humiliation and be asked to sing, perform etc for visitors, but I confess here that I DO have all intention to stop this when he asks me too, so for now I can do what I want J

So look forward to the ‘Mazhalai Muthukal’ (Kid talk- being compared to pearls)…this is just a snippet of his vocab for now:

Circle: Chachuu

Triangle: Taaaluu

Barthi Thatha: Pakki Thatha(hehe)

Rajee Paati: Aajee Patti

Balu Thatha: (smile) Thathaaaa

Sumathy Patti: Upathy Paati

Ram Uncle( My favorite one): Makkku

Chocolate: Chokkeyy

How do you do?: How dodododoooo

I Love you: Iwyuwvyyuuuu

On seeing the rain outside: Water..and proceeds to keep both his thumbs to his mouth and tilts his head back to drink water.

My favorite moment this week…when I help him eat I often say that the spoon is an airplane and it is trying to land in his mouth. Ever since our SFO trip and his deep understanding of what an Airplane is when he is eating by himself, I find him saying “Aipaanne” and does all sorts of curves with the spoon and takes it to his mouth….:)(it is hard to suppress a smile then)

The reason for this blog, is yesterday I was sitting on the couch, he comes with a cracker in his hand and says ‘sit sit’ and says ‘chair’…tapping my knee, which means he wants to sit on my lapJ. He always did this to Ajit and never to me, it felt sooooooooo good. We then saw “Metti”…the title song for ‘Metti Olli’, an Indian TV series, with him dancing on my lap….

Everything felt so complete….

Here is him cutey smiling at cue…(this one was born loving the camera)

Chocolate and Orange…YUMMMMM

 

Yesterday was the 39th wedding Anniversary for my in-law’s. I am a sucker for such days!! 🙂 I instantly feel very happy at weddings or during anniversaries etc. It is such a wonderful day to commemorate what is one of the most important days in your lives. So when Ajit and I started to discuss what to do, since it was a weekday there was a brief discussion of a store-bought cake as the evenings are always a gamble with the little one. But then I figured, what fun is it for grandparents to cut cake and eat it when their one obsession in life right now does not get to have a piece.

I then remembered this recipe I had been wanting to try out. I don’t know about other but I LOVEEE a good chocolate and orange combination. Thanks to Susan, I tried this recipe and it came out great. Here is the original recipe http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2007/12/chocolate-orange-cake.html, but I tweaked it to suit to my situation and we got a wonderful, moist delicacy. Here is how you venture out…

Unbleached white flour (maida): 1.5 cups

Sugar: 1 cup

Cocoa: 1/4-1/2 cup depending on how much chocolate you like 🙂

Salt: 1/2 tsp

Baking powder: 1 tsp

Oil: 1/2 cup

Vinegar: 1 Tbsp

Water: 1/2 cup

Orange juice: 1/2 cup

Orange zest or peel: About 1 Tbsp. You can grate orange just the skin on a grater and collect this.

You add some cinnamon and vanilla extract if you please. Avy is little sensitive to both.

Mix all the dry ingredients first and then add the liquid and beat it, until smooth. I used a handheld electric beater for about a minute.

Grease a 9×9 inch pan and pour the liquid in it. Set the oven at 350 and bake for about 30 minutes. Once done, insert a fork and make sure nothing sticks to it, keep it to cool. It will take about an hour to cool fully. (Last night I was in a rush, so I took it off before it fully cooled and it was not as pleasant to clean up ;)).

Now for the icing, I did only the orange icing yesterday. also do the icing just before you are ready to serve:

1/4 cup powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)

Some vanilla extract and little cinnamon if you please.

1 tsp orange juice.

Add the liquid slowly and start beating the mixture, you can see it all blend in. I used a little too much liquid last night, so the icing did not show nicely, though it tasted great. The mixture should be thick yet at a consistency in which you can drizzle it over the cake. Dress up the cake and serve. At the end I added a little cocoa to my icing and poured over the cake, as you can see in the picture. Cannot have enough chocolate!!

It was job well done, everyone enjoyed the cake. Avy successfully mushed the cake even before my in-laws had a chance to cut it, but it was a wonderful sight. It made me think that afterall his birthdays will not be so bad, I can always bake a huge cake for him and my mind went into overdrive to thinking what all I can with a birthday cake….Mommy brain… :):)…. Here is Avy enjoying the cake…

Travel…Whew!

Back finally at the comfort of my desk after 5 days of travel and outing. We went to SFO  (San Francisco, CA) for a close friend’s wedding and it was a mini reunion of sorts of some of our close friends. I have so much to write in this blog, since this was the first ‘trip’ ‘trip’ we took with our little one. So far we have always driven by car to a friend’s place stayed at their place and back. So the thought of travelling around a city with him all day was quite daunting.

The planner me kicked in and I started making lists after lists. It is hard enough to travel with a kid, with the tantrums to fussiness to eat, sleep, and their urge to let go of our hands and run, but with Avyu I have to be 100% sure I have something for him to eat all day. Since it is impossible for me to just buy a muffin or something for him, it seemed such a herculean task. Anyways, this is where the lists help. To start off I made a list of all that we need to pack for him, and how I go about doing it is start to think of his typical day at home and make a list of everything he would need, from this toothbrush to his night pj’s and his favorite elmo toy. I have some suggestions below, a list of a kind to help others with packing too. Use this like a grocery list 🙂

Toothbrush

Toothpaste

Hairbrush

Dress- take in layers, some t shirts, some light sweater, some larger sweaters.

Socks- always have couple of extra pairs

Shoes/ Slippers- again always carry an extra pair, in case one get wet

Bath soap (Avy uses special soap)

Bath Towel

Wipe cloths to wipe nose, hands etc.

I normally pack all of the above in hand luggage for air travel.

Diapers

Wipes

Tissues

Diaper cream

Medicines- Allergy related, daily vitamin, bendrayl, epipen

Milk boxes

Juice boxes

Sippy/straw cups

Food- dinner etc

Spoons.

I pack the above in the diaper bag.

Snacks- take their favorite snack. I normally try and put them in smaller Ziploc covers so that it is easier to carry out.

Fruit- always a good idea to have, oranges, apple, banana, etc

Water in a sippy cup.

I then made a list of all that he would eat all day and all that he can eat. Air travel is becoming more and more difficult and the last thing I need is for them to open every one of our bags at the security counter…and explaning things with a hanging baby from your arms is not pleasant:). I decided to pack all kinds of liquids in one bag, that way everything else would clear and I would have to just explain that one bag that had his juices, milk, medicines etc. This worked out well for us. Ajit would carry the baby through the counter and I would fall behind to explain, somehow they are more sympathetic when it comes from a mom as to why I am taking more than the alloted oz of medicines etc. To make the in flight experience better I packed all of Avyu’s snacks- cracker, cookies etc in one bag, and kept it under my feet at all times. That way it was easily reachable during the flight and can avoid a tantrum. 🙂

We were planning to stay with one of my closest friends (Divya) from school. I had not seen her in more than 9 years, so it was sooo nice to see and catch up with her. When travelling with a kid, kids with allergies or not, always better to stay in someone’s house than a hotel, if at all possible. They feel more at home and preparing dishes for them for the day becomes easier.  Avyu would spend all morning with Divya’s husband Dwarak (Wa-wok as avyu calls him) who played various songs for him on the laptop, while we scrambled to pack travel bags all day. We left each day after a heavy breakfast and would return for the night. They made us feel so much at home and we enjoyed the trip more because of that.

After a red eye flight from Virginia and a short drive to our friends place, we hit the bed around 2am Friday morning. Avyu slept most of the flight and the car ride home and continued to sleep till 7.00 am which was a blessing. We had things planned for all the 3 days we were there, Friday was a SFO tour, Saturday was to catch up with some friends and do the 17 mile drive, Sunday was the Indian wedding and Monday was our return.

 The mornings were always busy, with preparing the needed food for Avyu the whole day- Iddlies  , Paruppu sadam and his favorite Quinoa. All this was done around some pleasant chit chat with our friends. Again, the packing mode sets in and I tried (again tried is the key word) to segregate and pack, juices and milk in one bag, food and snacks in another, Spoons in a ziploc bag (another ziploc to put used spoons in) etc etc. However it is not always easy as it sounds. The first day I spent more than an hour packing it all but once we hit the road and had to look for something I drew a complete blank on where I kept what 🙂 So from the next time I have decided to make a list on what is in what bag, because when you are on a bus and you need a tissue or a juice box you kind of blank out and the searching is no fun :). Note to self- make another list :p:p

Another travel tip that really helped us is dressing Avyu in layers, as everyone knows SFO weather is very unpredicatble and Avyu needed jacket and hat while we went on the bus and cruise while other times just a light weater was fine. We did the mandatory touristy things in SFO, the golden gate photo op, walking on the golden gate, lombard street, fishermans wharf , the cruise on the bay (Avyu loved the bridge, he blew a kiss to the ‘bidgggee’)etc . Avvyu did really great, he was fussy only when he started to feel too tired and sleepy. At times he would need convincing to sit in the stroller or he would be on the verge of a tantrum as he was too tired and the only way I knew how the ‘magic’ cookies ;)I have these magic cookies that he loves which can magically change his mood and we use it as last resort in times on extreme fussiness 😉 It may  not be the best parenting tip out there, then again a toddler crying on the road is not what I want:). He had one cookie and agreed that it was ‘aachu’ and continued on the stroller for the rest of our time there. Here is a picture of all of us near Golden gate.

The next day we decided to meet Ajit’s friends for lunch and do the 17 mile drive. I hogged on all the chaat I could find and was stuffed through most of the drive. It was gorgeous and we spent some nice time at Pebble beach. Avyu picked up various pebbles and called it ‘chuchhu’(circle), oval and wanted to see a ‘paar’(square). I had to convince him that pebbles will not be square. Again it was cold, but I wore my dress as I had made up my mind to wear a dress at least once, was not too bad. We then did a little more drive and reached highway 101 and started to head back. We stopped briefly at the wedding hall met the bride and groom said our hello and headed back to our friends place. We got some food from madras café on our way back and crashed as early as we could, as the wedding was early in the morning the next day. Here is a pic of Avyu playing with the pebbles…

No matter how much you plan or prepare the previous day time just flies by when you try and get ready. We got up around 4.15 and reached the wedding hall by 6.45am and the wedding had begun. It was great wedding, with lot of laughter, kids playing around, awesome food. A big applause for the bride and groom who made all the arrangements themselves, a pretty big responsibility and it was done with great style. Avyu enjoyed the open space he had to run up and down, he loved the vada at breakfast and in general had a very nice time. The whole day was spent there and we headed home to take the evening easy. A pic at the wedding…

We spent Sunday evening with my friend’s husband, with whom Avyu got really attached and called him ‘Wa-wok’ (Dwarak). Dwarak would have played the ‘e I o’ songs about a million times and Avyu who was using Dwarak as a cushion was happily listening to the songs . He is still searching for ‘wa’wok’ after we came back. This morning, since me and his granddad refused to play it for him as it was time to leave, he started shouting ‘Wa-wokkkkk’…

Traveling with a kid is very hard. A lot of planning beforehand can make things really comfortable in the flight especially. Avyu does really well on flights. I have had people tell me almost every time on how good he has been. I think I have lucked out but I also think the planning helps a whole lot. I carry his favorite food, his favorite book, his favorite toy and I talk a lot to him to keep him occupied. We had these small tv’s in the flight and it had no volume, so I would point out various objects to keep him occupied, like tree, apple, door, sky etc. This engages him and he is in a good mood most of the time.

Like every other kid he throws a fit or tantrum when he is tired or bored and by now I am used to guessing correctly what is affecting him. It helps that he is starting to talk and is able to let me know exactly what he wants. I have always been sympathetic towards parents trying to drag their bawling kids through the airport and I had to do it this time too, remember 9 out of 10 time, people are sympathetic to your situation. Keep your calm and do what you would do at home to stop it, and do not think too much on what others would think about you.

No planning is too much planning. I thought I had this down to a science and that I did well on trip. The next day Avyu was playing at home and all of a sudden he came into the kitchen and asked for an apple. At that moment, I felt ‘duh’ of all the things I packed for the trip I forgot to take an apple. I made a mental note that next time around an apple might be better than giving him 3 bananas a day 🙂

The Batura weekend ;)

Well Well, last weekend was Mother’s day weekend. After that post for my mom, this is a post about my weekend. It started out with a bang on friday evening with Avy in a sooper dooper cute mood. I was making tea in the kitchen, I could hear his dad and grandparents asking him to take the card he made for me at his daycare to me. Few second later I hear the cute little foot stomps approaching me, and when he entered the kitchen it was the cutest sight. He has this big butterfly he had fingerprinted in bright pink with I love you, mommy written on it. It also had another cute tear in the corner that my little one made himself :p. I was floored at that moment and felt it was the best weekend ever before it started.:)

Saturday was brunch time, we took Ajit’s parents who are visiting to the Blacksburg farmer market and to one our favorite local restaurants “Gillies”. It has become a new favorite since it is a vegan restaurant and I can take Avyu there without worrying if he would get anything to eat. After a long long wait, when we finally got in we were ravenous. While waiting for the food, Avyu discovered a new snack all my himself. He was eating his saltine crackers and there was those small jelly/jam packets on the table, he promptly asked for one. Like always, I read the ingredients twice had his dad read them again and it was okay to give him. He instantly started using his cracker as a spoon and ate it all, jelly and cracker :). That was followed by an order of a super flavored potato dish, just like hashbrowns. He loves those too. The lunch ended with Avyu fighting me for my orange juice, all in all was a great time well spent.

Now coming to the tile of my blog, I have been going on and on about eating Channa Batura. Online recipe search revealed that almost 90% of the recipes call for use of curd, which made it a bummer, as one more dish I have to cross of my list when I eat outside. So I decided to make it at home. I found some recipes using boiled potatoes, a couple of them. So with all my research and a penchant for risk taking, I present to you my version of Channa Batura. Must say in the spirit of full disclosure, the Batura came out super great, soft, tasty, the channa was good, tasted very well, I just wish i had pressure cooked em a little bit longer 🙂

So enjoy!!

Items needed for Batura: (Note: The dough needs to sit for at least 5-6 hours for best results)

All purpose flour (Maida): 3 cups

Potatoes: Small ones 2 (boiled and peeled)

Baking soda: 1 tsp

Oil- 2 Tbsp

Salt to taste- I would say about 3/4 to 1 tsp.

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl,smash the boiled potatoes and add about 4 Tbsp of hot water and just spread it around and start kneading. Add water little by little and knead the dough till is becomes soft. Pointer: At one stage the dough will be a little sticky, like as though there is too much water, but do NOT add more flour, just keeps kneading it will become soft. I takes about 20-25 of kneading to achieve the right consistency. It will be smooth and glossy.

Now take a wet cloth, or I use wet tissue to wrap it around the dough and let it sit in an air tight container for about 5-6 hours.

When it is time to make the Batura, start the oil in a frying pan. Then take the dough out and knead it once more on the counter for about 5 mins and make it into medium size balls. Use more flour to help in flattening them out (like a tortilla). It is best to make one by one and fry them immediately to avoid exposure to moisture.  Once you put the dough in the oil, just pat them out with the spoon this will help achieving the desired results.

It was my husband and mother in law who made the best ones, I kneaded the dough and they fried it. So as you can imagine my husband claims full bragging rights for the awesome ones in the picture above :):p.

Now onto the chick pea curry…

Items needed:

Chick peas soaked overnight, or at least for 6 hours, or you can used the canned version. If can use 3 cans, if fresh about the same quantity. Pressure cook them for about 4 whistles to get to a soft texture.

For the sauce base, saute the following items for about 8 minutes and grind to a thick paste:

Ginger: 2 inch piece

Garlic- about 3 pods

Tomato- 2 small ones

Onion- 1 medium onion

Now add about 2 Tbsp of oil, and add the following flavors:

Cinnamon stick- 1 inch stick

Cardamom- 3 pods

Cloves- 4

Bayleaf- 1

Cumin- about a teaspoon

Once these saute for few minutes, add the paste and a ½ cup water. Now add the following:

Turmeric powder: 1 tsp

Coriander powder-1.5 tsp

Cumin powder-1.5 tsp

Chilli powder- 2 tsp

Channa masala powder- 2 tsp

Chaat masala- 2 tsp

Salt to taste

I then leave it on low heat to boil for about 10 minutes. I now add the boiled chickpea to the boiling mixture and leave the lid close and let it simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

I then check to see if the taste is what I want, feel free to change-up the proportion to what you would like. Finally I add a ½ tsp of sugar, this will bring in and blend the mixture.

I garnish with some Cilantro and keep the lid closed till it is ready to be served.

Finally as it goes on the plates I squeeze some lemon juice for that lovely zest.

Whew!! That took longer to write than actually do!  This was followed by a nice sunday at home doing what I enjoy best…spending time with family.

P.s Avyu liked the “pullllii”(poori)!!!

Mommy dearest….

Everyone who blogs probably has a blog about their mom coming, this weekend being Mother’s day and all! I love my mom! I think just like everyone else loves their mom. Moms are just special. There is no rhyme or reason why that is the case. I am very close to my mom, I talk to her multiple times everyday. The only reason my 45 minute commute is bearable is because I talk to her. I never thought we could become closer than we were, but having a kid on my own made that possible. From recipes, to kid rearing, to discussing the minute details of our days is something we enjoy a lot.

I have been one of the lucky few to have spent a lot of time with my mom. I stayed home till i got married, so for 25 years been a home bird. As it is with every girl, marriage seemed a big change, in spite of knowing my husband for a long time before that. My mom made the transition so easy for me, she encouraged me to have and keep my own household, to be independent. I have learned a lot from my mom, the most important of which is how to keep my family happy. I am no her, I am not as selfless, and can never be. But I try to do the small stuff she taught me.

From a young age I was encouraged to do be a part of the kitchen, not that I did much, but was always allowed. The most defining experience for me, was when my mom had to go to Varanasi when I was in 10th standard, and I had to keep house. My grandad, my dad and my brother. I was in charge of the kitchen, and mind it my grandad had very specific requirements for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All had to me made fresh, breakfast iddly or dosai, lunch- full cooking- rasam, sambar, kaai, and dinner – chappathi. She taught me, taught it all and I managed quite well. Dad was busy with work, brother, have no clue what he was up to :), I was in charge. The confidence she had in me is what helped. She was supposed to be gone for a few days, but she got stuck there due to floods and came back only after what seemed to be an eternity!!

Don’t get me wrong, I was pampered, I am pampered still, by all my family, mom, dad, brother..and now my husband and in laws, but I have been taught when to step up and take care of myself.

The other interesting facts about me and moms….I have 6 of them:) My mom is one of 9 children, 6 girls and 3 boys. My mom is the 6th, and the youngest girl. So I have 5 Periammas(Aunts) all of whom I call “Amma”. They are my moms. All of them have played extremely significant roles in bringing me up and I am super close to all of them. So yeah again pampered 🙂 I miss them all, wish we could all be in the same place.

I have so many people ask me what we talk daily and how we can have so much, but I do. I share everything with her, happiness, frustrations, anger, sadness and now of course the never-ending topic of Avyukt. Come soon mommy, I miss you. You are the best and I hope one day Avyu feels I am as good a mom as you are. And the same for all my other ammas, I have been taught how to be a good one, I have watched and learnt and wish to pass on at least some of the joy and happiness all of you have brought me.

On this mothers day, cheers to all of you. Love you all with all my heart. Jaya amma, Kunja Amma, Savirtri ma, Pattu ma, Vaalu ma (I know you are looking down on me), and my own dearest….you guys are the best! Thanks for setting such a lofty example for me. Love you all.

p.s Thanks to your lovely grandson u had no time to publish this yesterday!! So here to goes, dedicated to the most influential people in my life.

Happy MOthers day to all…

For anyone who needs them…A nice collection of mommy blogs

http://www.indusladies.com/forums/announcements/94830-happy-mothers-day-get-our.html

Daycare dilemma…

I was just working on Avyu’s May menu for his daycare. They post online, the menu for toddler breakfast and lunch, and every month I go through that and score out anything that Avyu cannot have, which would be 80% of what they have listed, and write in the pre agreed upon dishes for him. This is an exercise I have been doing every month since he was diagnosed. Ajit also questioned me once, as to why I do it every month, when by now they know his routine. I think it is a mom issue. I feel like I have to be as clear as possible, as they sometimes have new staff. and writing down his daily meals, makes me ensure he is getting a well-balanced diet.

I have been really lucky with the daycare Avyu goes too. He has been going since he was 4 months old, they adore him. This is the third class he has been ‘promoted’ to.  Every time  he starts a new class he has few days of fussiness, but it all settles down into a lovely routine for him. The best thing that they do for us is help me with his diet restrictions. they provide the food to the kids here, we pay upfront. For Avyu, for each meal they make things he can eat, allergen free. He is the only kid there with so many allergies, there are other kids with a mild milk allergy etc. They work with me every time, I meet or talk on the phone at least once a week. I do not think I will ever change this setup, except of course when he needs to goto school.

This made me think back to the time when I was searching for daycare. It was decided that when i was pregnant that I would be continuing to work, which I what I wanted. Some family issues made it impossible for my mom to help me out. She was there for a month after Avyu was born, and my mother in law for 4 months. Talking with people at work etc I knew that there would be a waiting list, so I got started really really early. I got on one of the best ones where we live, and I am still on it. No spot ever opened up. I got on waiting list at 3 other places while I was pregnant, in Feb of 2009. Avyu was born in September, and I promptly called them back a week after he was born only to hear that none of them had an opening and that they would call me eventually…

It became a borderline obsession, fixing a day care for him. Since everyone I called said, no spots yet and we will call you back. The postpartum feelings did not help one bit, I had hallucinations of my kid having no one to care for. I would call daycare providers at any free time I got, after caring for new-born, feverishly for 2 weeks, and finally set up appointments to go see them. Of the 10 or so I would have seen, only one appealed to both of us, Ajit and me. I liked it the minute I set foot. Unfortunately, I was not even on the waiting list there. We signed up and hoped they would call us in the next 4 months.

Days went by without any news, and I still clearly remember how tensed I used to be. Finally I got the call in December, 3 weeks before he was due to start and the one we wanted took us in. Little did I know then, really, how lucky we were to be called. Now the daycare is his second home, I am able to work peacefully only because I know they look out for him so much. Slips ups do happen (mostly because I had forgotten to tell them something), never a big one, and they call me immediately.

I get a lot of people who says , “Oh he is going to daycare, why weren’t you able to find someone else to take care of him at home” or even better, the ever classic, “I cannot imagine a stranger caring for my kid”. Well I found someone, a good day care provider 🙂 After seeing all the internet posts on babysitters, and the related abuse, there is no chance I would let my kid be alone with a stranger. Daycares have more security, you can vet them, by talking to other parents. They do better work because of the liability issues. People need to understand not everyone can do exactly what they want and circumstances play a major role.

Picking out a daycare is a very big step. Moms are always torn between going back to work and staying at home. The best friend a working mom can have is a good daycare. Do your research, go and look at places, talk to other parents who send their kids there, finally you will know it in your gut, if that is the one!  Also get on waiting lists very early, they get filled up so quick.

Working or not is a personal decision and is totally the mom’s to make. It has to be convenient to do so, and it has to be what you want. You cannot work, because someone else is doing it, either way it is your life. There are days when I think, maybe I want to be home with my kid, but more often than not it is a fleeting thought. If you want to work, work, make sure you find the best alternative you can. Any scenario has its pros and cons, and somehow people are more supportive when you decide to stay at home for your baby. I want to put it out there that you can balance both, very well, all it takes is a little planning. Do not let anyone else guilt you into doing what you do not want to do. Being a stay at mom is very hard, some days way harder than being a working mom, because you do not catch a break from the rowdy little ones, so do what you heart pleases! My take is being a working mom does not make you a bad mom:)

I see the benefits of sending Avyu to the daycare already, he talks a lot, he eats on his own, he can name all the alphabets and number 1 to 10, on the other side he also falls sick more. But to me personally, the pros outweigh the cons. It is such a wonderful sight to see him play with his friends, and almost all evening he is wearing only one shoe and is all giggly from a good day out….

p.s The picture is to show how small he was when he started daycare!!

Magic of Moong…

I love Moong (or Mung) beans a lot! They are soo tasty and packed with such rich nutrients. They are a favorite for Avy too. I have done a lot of recipe with both the unhusked green moong dal and the dehusked yellow moong dal. This is a very important source of protein in our household.

Ranging from pancakes, to sundal (kind of like a salad), to just boiled moong dal with rice we have tried a myriad of things with these lentils. I present here a recipe I just thought of the other day. Avy was a little fussy to eat his rice, so I made this hoping it will pack in some protein with the vegetables while making it interesting for him to eat. Avy happily just picked out the carrots while the rest of us enjoyed a lovely dish.

I present to you..the Radish-Carrot-Moong Curry.

Radish: About 3 if you are getting the fresh long ones, or one small packet if you are getting the round ones.

Carrots: About equal quantity (that day I had some frozen ones which I used)

Moong beans: About 1 cup soaked for about 30 mins. (I normally do the soaking first and then try and get the other work done like cutting the vegetables etc)

Ginger: About 1/2 inch, cut into small pieces

Green Chillies: 1 or 2 (I used only 1, as it was for the little one)

Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp

Salt-1/2 tsp

Canola Oil: 1 Tbsp

Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp

Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp

Urad dal; 1/2 tsp

Cilantro for garnish

Heat the oil in a skillet, when the oil is hot add the mustard seeds and let it start to sputter, then add the cumin seeds, the ginger and green chillie. Once these saute and the chillies start to change color add the radish,carrot, turmeric powder, salt and add a little water (if using frozen carrots, add the carrots about 5-7 minutes after adding the radish). Close the dish and let it cook in medium heat for about 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, take a small piece out and check with a fork to see if it is cooked. If the radish is cooked, the carrot will be too :). If not add a little more water and leave it on the stove for few more minutes. Once the radish is cooked, add the moong dal to the mixture and stir till all the ingredients mix.

Let it remain on the stove for about 5 minutes. Remove garnish with come Cilantro and enjoy!!

Radish as a vegetable is so rich in potassium, folic acid and a little unknown fact, it is a good source of calcium too. We all know the benefits of carrot. I think this will be a dish pleasing to both the adult and kids palate. Moms, try it out and let me know what your kids thought!!

One of those days!

Every once in a while I am too tired to cook or eat or clean (am sure everyone has one such day)! Yesterday was one of those days!! All I wanted to do was sleep. Ajit and my dad decided they were going to have Pizza and that left me and Avy. The little monster had his usual ‘Paruppu Sadam’ (rice and lentil), did a ‘Mannana” (banana) dance and gobbled up a whole banana.  So with just me left, I was leaning towards my usual Maggi (which I love btw, with no vegetables…Yes Ajit, no matter what you say, it is AWESOME without any veggies in it!! ).  But Ajit offered to make me some Quinoa Upma.  Turned out to be pretty awesome. Here is his recipe:

Quinoa grains: (You will find it at all grocery stores these days) 1 cup

Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp

Cumin (Jeeragam) seeds; 1/2 tsp

Green chilies 2 or 3

Urad dal and channa dal- 1/2 tsp each

Salt

Onion-1/2

Capsicum 1/2

Oil- 2 Tbsp

Add oil in a pan and when it is hot, add the mustard seeds and wait till it sputters. Add the green chillies and cumin seed and let it saute for 2-3 minutes.

Now add the cut, onion, capsicum, and any other veggies your tummy wants and saute it till the onion changes color.

Now add 1 and half cup of water, little salt and let the water come to a boil. Then add the Quinoa grains and let it cook. Occasional stirring helps. It will take anywhere from 12-15 minutes to cook fully.

Garnish with some Cilantro and you are done!!!

After I was served this on a platter, as I refused to move from the couch, Avy comes running to me since I have his favorite food with me. Mind it, his dinner was over. He had few spoonfuls and ran away happily to continue drawing…..while I was left to enjoy the lovely dinner!

I think this is a wonderful dish for those watching their weight as it is powerfully packed with protein and is very pleasant to the palate. Kids love it, the grain has a very nice texture that appeals to them:)