Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My latest gastronomic indulgence...

...Is Apple Crumble! 

And, no, I don't mean the painstakingly one done in an oven with the aroma of baked apples in the whole house. I would love that but time is at a premium these days, and the oven in not so great a shape, and I have these cravings (no, I am not pregnant again - but then I never had any cravings during my pregnancy :D) that need to be satiated almost instantly. 

This is a quick apple crumble in a mug kind of a recipe (except, that I make the dessert mug recipes in a bowl because I don't really have those huge 10oz+ mega mugs in my collection yet :)). I looked around for quite a few recipes and no particular one sounded absolutely doable and great, so I took them as inspiration and decided to experiment with the measures etc. And without being modest, I must tell you I concocted an awesome recipe (especially if you don't like your apple crumble super sweet) that I had for three consecutive days for lunch (and not dessert, mind you!.

So, sharing the recipe that I followed here - you can play around with the ingredients and their measures as you will :). 

1. In a bowl, mix together 1 tbsp butter (melted), 2 tbsp flour, 1 tbsp sugar (this is for average sweetness), 1 tbsp quick rolled oats, 1 tbsp walnuts, and a pinch of cinnamon powder.

2. Peel, core and slice n dice an apple, and place in a microwaveable bowl. Crumble the mixture in step 1 on the apples.

3. Bake for about 5 minutes (till the apples can be pierced with a fork). 

And you are done! 

By the way, this is a kid friendly recipe too. I tried it for my almost-16-month-old daughter but she didn't like the sweetness too much - she was happy munching on the cooled baked apple pieces instead. I didn't really mind - I don't care sharing desserts anyways!

Thursday, February 20, 2014


I, oops, we have been married seven years now. The regular readers of this blog may recall the High Five post I did on our fifth anniversary. Here's another one dedicated to this great milestone :D :P.

So, here's presenting the 7 secrets of a long and happy married life:

Secret No. 1
There are 7 notes in music but the combinations of these are gazillion and it is not necessary that a married couple enjoys all these equally. A separate iPod with separate music libraries, and a pair of decent noise reduction headphones for each is a must to enjoy the music of married life.

Secret No. 2 
7 is the neutral pH value between acidity and alkalinity. It is also indicative of the balance a marriage must have. If you are arguing to no end at a point of time, your spouse must back off. There's no point both messing with chemistry at the same time. (P.S. If you are a man, and reading this, you must always back off.)

Secret No. 3
There are 7 deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. It doesn't matter which one you or your spouse is committing (ofcourse while being reasonable, you know) - all are pardonable as long as there is food on the table, money in the bank, and icecream in the freezer. 

Secret No. 4
There are 7 days in a week. That is a little too much time to spend with each other because (a) Familiarity breeds contempt, and (b) You need a life of your own. A little time each day and a little day or two each week is a great way to make it last :D.

Secret No. 5
Interestingly, in NBA, 7 is the maximum number of games in a playoff series. What is even more interesting that is that after you both make the decision of getting married and then get married, you will realize that is the last decision you could both agree upon. After that, it is a series of playoffs! Don't forget that even the greatest rivals shake hands before and after every game.

Secret No. 6
There are 7 continents and 7 seas and that's for a reason. There's enough place to run to when you want to take a break. Take time out to travel and be on your own every once in a while - If it doesn't make you miss your significant other or realize his/her value, you would have atleast seen a new place :D :P.

Secret No. 7
The rainbow has 7 colors and just like without even on of them, it wouldn't be complete - your spouse would not be the person he or she is without his or her good and highly annoying habits. So be a saint (coincidentally, there are believed to be 7 saints in Hindu mythology (Saptarishi) and in some other religions too!) and forgive (But, don't forget - you could always use an ace up your sleeves at a later fight :D :P).

So, my much married friends, over to you - care to add to the list?

(By the way, there are umpteen sexist and non-sexist jokes on marriage online most of them are funny - those that talk about separate date nights and beds and continents etc. but my favorite happens to be this one:
An old woman married was sipping wine on her 40th wedding anniversary and exclaimed, "Oh, dear, what would I have done without you all these years."
Her husband asked, "Is that you talking or the wine?"
She replied, "That's me talking to the wine." 

HA HA HA - Sorry, couldn't resist sharing this one - really over to you now!)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Confessions of a desi: What holds us in awe during our first few days in Amreeka!

I liked the response I got for my post on Decoding Desis, and you could consider this as an extension. 

Now, if you are an Indian and came to the States as an adult - for education, your first onsite assignment, a holiday trip (aah u stinking rich brat!), or your honeymoon (first or not), you have to admit that a few or all of these things did leave you awe struck in your first few days here. 

  • Voicemails. It doesn't matter that India is technically still a developing country, our rickshaw pullers, vegetable vendors, house maids, all boast of cell phones. So, we actually do consider the cellular revolution in the US with its really crappy prepaid plans and charges on incoming calls and messages as quite neanderthal, however, what fascinates us absolutely is the concept of voicemails. I cannot get more honest on the web than this: The first time, I actually rehearsed my voicemail message and kept re-recording it till my throat was sore and I was still not satisfied (I am still not with my current one). I did that on my office phone and home phone as well!
  • Pedestrian signals. While the use of traffic signals in our home country has been the butt of many jokes, here, we absolutely get fascinated when we push the walk button for the very first time to cross the road. It actually amazes us that the drivers stop, don't honk, and continue to patiently wait for us to cross the road completely. What tops this, is that you actually have cops who ticket a jaywalker! The first time I noticed this in LA downtown, I was just mesmerized on the spot.
  • The uniformed men! While on the cops, what is with the policemen here - forget policemen, even TSA agents at airports. 90% of them are so gentlemanly, polished and good looking. I still remember being of sheepishly giggly with a flirting TSA guy at an airport with a dear friend (If she reads this, she will know :)). ANd I will never forget the two amazingly handsome, polite cops who helped me with my luggage and got me a cab on my very first day in this country. I am yet to come across a good looking cop in India - that mouche and pot belly just doesn't cut it. (While, to be fair, I must admit the men in the armed forces in our country do have a very gracious air about themselves).
  • Costco and Uncle Sam's. I mean I would not be a true desi if I did not mention these two retailers in my post, would I? The first time I went to Costco, my eyes rolled over a few zillion times. Who consumes such enormous amounts of colas, cereal, energy bars. Oh forget that. Who uses so much toilet paper - infinite rolls and rolls in a single package! (P.S. For the last so many years now, I have been a loyal Costco customer. :P)
  • Black Friday. No, I have never stood in a black friday sales line. I swear. But, I have got out at 7AM the next morning to check out the hullabaloo. The stores looked like a tornado came and swept it away! For the first time, the madness of thanksgiving is really something.
  • There is no ground floor! It is one thing to have a different metrics system and a date system - we are left confused with the pounds, the miles, and the Fahrenheit, and the mm/dd/yyyy, but didn't we Indians share with you over telephone lines (or pigeons) or something the concept of zero? You go to lease an apartment and you have to keep reminding yourself, that the lovely lady means the ground floor when she says first, the first when she says second and so on - ditto our state of mind in the elevators!!!
  • Weather.com obsession. We had never partaken in conversations such as these: "Keep a light jacket for the evening, the temperature is going to fall." Let's begin on our drive an hour later, by then the rain would have stopped at the intended destination.", "It is 10F but feels like -10F because of the windchill". Thank you for teaching us how are entire lives can revolve around the forecast for the day.
  • Portion sizes! Oh my, the pizza slices, the burger bites, the triple pancakes, single entree pastas, the humongous omelettes, the huge "small" coke - You are getting me wrong - we are all not exactly thin but our appetites are way less!
  • The animals and birds! I don't if my fellow desis have noticed or not - but the average sized cat, pigeon, crow, squirrel and sparrow are much huge compared to their Indian counterparts. Not only are they huge, they are fearless.I have never had to fearfully cross a path because an adamant grey eyed cat refused to give some way. I was scared for dear life at the Battery Park in NY while eating falafels and rice because the birds would refuse to be "shooed" away. To make things even better, there was once a raccoon in our trash can in Schaumburg, IL and not to mention the number of deer I have seen cross the road in a hoity doity fashion in so many places :).  
  • Parking lots. I mean there is parking every freakin' where. Not just malls, grocery stores, plazas, but even in the chaos of the downtown hub, during peak hours - somewhere, somehow you will find a parking - never mind the rates, never mind if you have to walk 10 blocks left or right or straight - but you can be assured you will get to park (under reasonable circumstances ofcourse - you cant be looking at parking in Times Square or Hollywood Boulevard now!). What is even better, is that you can chalk those parking spaces online while planning your trip. Every place is "mappable", like that :D.

Okay, my fellow countrymen in Amreeka, over to you. It is confession time :D.


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