Chicken Biryani

There is a fast forward way to make Biryani. And then there is a traditional way. And then there is the middle path. This is the middle path.

I make it in two steps. First, make the curry. Then let the curry sit overnight and become even yummier. (Pro Tip – a curry always tastes yummier the next day). And then use it to make Biryani. You can always use the remaining curry for another meal.

How to make the curry – I use a whole chicken cut up into curry sized pieces (Yes the butcher gets that terminology). Bone in is preferred for Biryani.

Marinate chicken in the following
– yogurt (1 cup)
– cumin powder (1/2 tbsp)
– turmeric (1/2 tsp)
– lemon juice (1 lemon)
– coriander powder (1/2 tbsp)
– chopped coriander and mint and green chilies
– ginger and garlic paste

Marinate overnight.

In a heavy base pan and add some oil, and sliced onions. Cook the onions until they turn pinkish brownish. Add the marinated chicken and cook until the liquid starts to bubble up. You want this entire liquid to reduce so cook on medium with a lid on for some time. This will keep the chicken moist. You are to judge when the chicken is cooked. You don’t want it overcooked.

Other preps

Cook 2 cups of rice. I basically let it cook in the rice cooker and take it out 3-4min early.
Take some saffron and add it to warm milk (1/4 cup) and keep it ready
Slice onions really thin put them on a baking sheet, sprinkle some oil on them, and broil them at H1 for 30-45 minutes. They should turn golden (not black).
(You can also use friend onions from Trader Joes and just roast it in a pan with some raisins and almond slices)

Now take an earthen pot, and brush it with oil inside.
Start with adding a layer of chicken curry followed by a layer of rice, followed by some fried onion and raisins and splash tbsp of the saffron milk.

Now repeat the step above and top it off with some strands of saffron and fresh coriander

Seal the earthen pot (mine has a lid :)) And let it cook in the oven at 400F for 40 minutes.

Serve HOT and steaming with Raita 🙂

Congratulations Hillary!

What a historic moment! Today Hillary Clinton won the DNC nomination and has become the first woman to have ever secured a nomination to the US Presidential election. Congratulations Hillary. Well deserved. I don’t have to agree with all of your policies, but I sure am proud of you and your efforts.

To me Hillary is a very strong woman. A woman who exudes power even before she has attained it. A woman who carefully picks her words, her people, and her passions. She is smart, witty and empathetic.

Around this time, eight years ago, she lost against Barack Obama. And ever since that loss she has not left any stone unturned to secure this nomination. She built her resume, acquired new skills, achieved more accolades and learnt a few more tricks on how to fight this battle. Little did she know eight years ago who she’d be competing against, so she built a well rounded resume. From foreign policy to taxes she has her bases covered. And not once has she seemed ambiguous or contradicted herself. She earned the money, raised even more, and she got her team together and pursued this goal with single minded devotion for last eight years.

History will be made again when she is elected to be the President of this country. But there is another post to be written on that day. Today, we celebrate a woman’s persistence, perseverance and her grit, to follow her dream and achieve the goal she had set out for herself.

Through my words, I am celebrating a woman’s journey. A woman who has set an example for a lot of us, that failure is an opportunity to learn what’s missing, and acquire the skills as you march ahead. She has reminded us that some journeys take longer than others, but you need to stick to the game and firm up your plan. She has taught us to be graceful and calm as we follow our plan. She has taught us to not give up and always have your chin up. The ebbs and tides are part of the game. If you have a goal in sight that is worth your efforts, just go grab that bull by its horns and power through.

She has taught us how to follow a dream and make it a reality. Through hardwork, and dedication, sickness and drama, assaults and scandals, she has shined through.

I don’t want you to congratulate Hillary, the DNC Nominee. I want you to congratulate the woman who has fought really hard in her life to be where she is today. A mother, a wife, a politician, an acknowledged speaker, and now a WINNER!

Congratulations Hillary! Well done.. Go finish this race!
Note – If Hillary was a Republican, I’d still write the same post.

What’s wrong with this world?

I haven’t been writing much. There are several reasons for it. One of them being that I am finding it extremely hard to settle back in my routine after returning from India. There is just so much to do and so less time. And I am struggling to stay awake past 9pm. I try, and I wake up so tired.

But another reason I am not writing is because I am just very annoyed with the way things are around me. Not at a personal level. But at a larger scale. I am seeking solace and peace in my little family and our close friends. I don’t feel like commenting on what’s happening around me. There is just so much nonsense all around that I am choosing to just ignore it. And live selfish for a while.

But just like everything else, I need to write it down to get it out of my system and cleanse. So I will do that and I am not looking for any commentary or rebuttals. I have my views and I am sharing them. No one needs to agree with it.

  • It’s too loud lately. Everyone is busy announcing something. As if we have all become official broadcasters. Can we be more silent? Me included.
  • This rat race is crazy. Why is everyone playing? Why can we not just “not play” for a while and  sit it out? 
  • Why are people not happy to see other people happy? 
  • Why are we always up leveling ourselves in conversations? 
  • Why am I not doing things I love and doing that only pay my mortgage? 
  • Why am I not writing?
  • Why is this world so rotten with politics?
  • Why are people in Kabul dying?
  • Why is everyone so busy being busy?
  • Why do people lie?
  • Why are people scared of sharing what they really feel?
  • What am I doing with my life. I will be 40 in 6 years! 6 years ago I was traveling the world.
  • Why are people who can really make a difference, not doing something about it.
  • Why do we troll?
  • Why do we judge?
  • What the fuck is wrong with Donald Trump?
  • Why do people like to see others fail?
  • Why do people spend their entire life doing things they don’t love? If most of us are doing jobs we’d rather not do, that’s a huge productivity deficit that we will need to deal with soon.
And last but not the least. Why have all these problems piled up on my plate at the same time? 
I will try to be more positive now that I have let it out. But it is a steep climb. 

I am lazy

 Today is the day of confession.

Many of my friends, relatives, and peers  often read snippets from my life and tell me that I should write. I should write a cookbook, a mommy book, a children’s book, a book about my father, and maybe another one about my observations from the streets. And I smile, like their comment, and hide behind a truth that I have known for almost 25 years. I am lazy.

I have a lot of ideas. But I don’t put them into action. The only ideas that I put into action with all my fervor and passion are those related to cooking. Cooking is the only thing I have pursued with all my love for the past ten years. I have also been writing for the same length, but my writing ideas never bear any fruit. And the reason for that is the cooking is a quick reward game. But writing is not. Writing is a laborious game. You write, edit, pitch, fail, and start again, until you find an editor interested in your work.

Cooking gives me instant rewards. A yummy lamb chop curry that I imagined on Friday, and put into works over the weekend, was gobbled up in a day. Agam’s appreciation – instant. My gratification – instant. I have no dependencies. It is a self-sustained ecosystem. Writing is not like that. It needs more time and more commitment. And I have always just given up on my writing goals since I am lazy.

Additionally, I suffer from a major impostor’s syndrome when it comes to writing. And somehow that is not the case with cooking. I actually have enough confidence in my cooking skills that I can compete for Master Chef competitions if I find the time to train. But even writing for Nanowrimo becomes a challenge for me. I take too much time wondering if my content is worth it. The ‘it’ here being the reader’s time. Murakami’s words make me “feel” every emotion his characters feel. My words don’t make me “feel”, let alone make others feel.

But I don’t give up completely. I keep writing these blog posts. And for me, they are enough. Maybe I am selling myself short. Maybe I am full of myself. I don’t know which one it is. But I know, and I confess that I am lazy. And that is the only thing between me and the first draft of my first book.

Tara’s French toast

Well here is what I did –

1 egg
1 slice of bread
Dash of cinnamon
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp agave nectar 
1/2 tbsp ghee/butter
1tsp vanilla extract 
Mix egg, cinnamon, sugar and agave and dip bread in it. Heat the skillet at high and add ghee to it. Bring it down to medium now and place the dipped bread on the slillet. 2-3 min on each side … keep checking to see it is not turning too brown. And that’s it. The magic is in sugar and the butter/ghee.
C suggested using panettone bread next time. It sounds so delicious – got to try it! 

Bread pudding

This is in the fridge right now. Will bake it tomorrow morning. 
2 cups milk
6 eggs
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
Bread – baguette is preferable 
1 banana – pureed (basically it’s my way to sweeten it)
Fresh cut fruits ( Tartine does not bake their pudding with the fruit. But I was being lazy and threw it all in.)
Will bake this tomorrow at 350 for 30ish minutes. 

Methi Coconut Shrimp

Meal plan said shrimp curry for tonight. When I opened the packet of shrimps, they didn’t seem enough. And so I created this recipe. I always keep a curry masala ready (onion, tomato, garlic, ginger, while spices all sautéed and pureed). So this came together really fast. It was also pretty tasty. 

Curry masala – 4 tbsp
1 cup coconut
2 cups methi 
20-25 shrimps
Heat Oil
Temper it with mustard seeds and curry leaves with red chili whole and a green chili
Add curry masala 
Saute until it starts to leave oil
Add coconut. Cook for 3-5minutes
Thaw the methi if you are using frozen
Add it to the pan and cook with coconut till the water evaporates 
Add some garam masala and salt
Finally add shrimp and turn the gas off. 
Serve with rice 🙂

Tara eats her food

While Tara was playing in the park she ran into Peter rabbit. He was very hungry and so both of them started a scavenger hunt looking for mommy. At first Peter blindly followed Tara around and then in the middle after he was tired he asked – hey Tara I am hungry. I don’t want to eat your mommy. Why are we looking for her? So Tara said follow me. Good question. But mommy is needed. Tara finally finds mommy and introduces Peter to her. Mommy is thrilled to meet Peter. And then Tara said, mommy we are hungry, can you help us put find some yummy food? There are a lot of good options at this party. And mommy said sure. Today is Sunday – and that means it’s fun day so that means we should have some fun foods. And mommy puts together a plate for Peter, Tara and herself. They ate – sandwiches with cucumber, Mac and cheese, salad, cheese balls and grapes and some noodles :)) everyone loved their meal and cleaned their plates clean. So Peter says to mommy – what so special about the food mommy. Mommy explained – there was protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals, calcium in the forms of grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy smile emoticon
Peter was convinced. He promised to run to mommy when he was hungry and eat whatever she served on his plate. Tara nodded and smiled and said, “see I told you so.”

Tara and the two moons

Tonight’s story became quite grim. And hence it took a lil longer for lil Tara to sleep. We went deep into the woods talking about beliefs. And how everything is always open to our interpretation. But we must gather facts to back our reasoning. And put the pieces together to solve the puzzle.
Tara solved the mystery of two moons. One in her room and one outside. The one in her room shines bright each night Daddy switches the light off. But Tara observes that it does not change shape. And hence it must not be the real moon. And even though Peter rabbit comes in between to give his commentary on how you eventually believe what you want to believe. Tara gathers enough data and proves that the moon in her room is not real. And that is what she starts to believe in.

Tara, the book eater

Today Peter rabbit was tasked with an impossible challenge by Tara’s teacher. She told Peter that if he teaches Tara to not eat her books, she will give five more books for Tara and Peter each quarter. So Peter talks to Tara and finds out that she eats her book because she loves all the stories and wants to eat them so they are a part of her. Peter tells her that for the stories to be a part of her, Tara needs to read them. Read them to her friends, her parents, her teachers, herself .. And when she has read them so many times she will remember them and the stories will become a part of her. Tara gets convinced and starts reading voraciously. Her teachers are very happy and Peter gets five more books each quarter that he shares with Tara 

Cooking Manual for Working Parents

I am thinking of writing a little manual for working parents who love to cook and nourish their families, but struggle to find the motivation and time to put together a healthy meal every day.

Hah! Yes! I am very ambitious. And, No! I don’t think I have mastered it myself yet. But, I discuss food and cooking with a lot of women at work and in my social networks on a regular basis, and I think I see an opportunity here that I need to grab.

After Tara started turning her nose to purees last year, I knew it was time to get my lazy bones to do some more work. Soon I found myself cooking meals every evening for the three of us. I want to caveat that by saying that I do spend a couple of hours over the weekend to do some prep work. It helps me meet my objective of serving warm and loving meals on the table every evening latest by 6:15 pm.

I get back home at 5:30 pm every evening and after spending some time with Tara and a quick change, I have 45min at best to put together a meal. Sometimes that is cut down to 30 minutes depending on how clingy and cranky Tara is that day.

A few things that have helped me achieve my goal of cooking at home every evening are my inclination to try new recipes, change our food grid and habits, rethink dinners in general and planning, a lot of planning. I will talk about each of these in this manual.

I wonder if anyone will read this manual. But I will still write it since I cannot be the only person who struggles so much to balance work, family and the nutritional needs of a growing kid. I’d really like some feedback on this idea. So don’t be a lurker and if you think you can use this manual, say yay!

The Social Conundrum

So here I am sharing with you the biggest social conundrum I have found myself in, ever since the internet arrived. Over the past many years, I don’t know how many, I have established what I like to call a well-curated content stream on Facebook. Although my loyalties were with Google+ to begin with, the recent changes in its UI are not acceptable to me. I refuse to patronize a tool that has lost its purpose. And so I am left with Facebook.

Let me share some facts here

  • I access over 90% of my digital content via Facebook. The remaining 10% are split between Flipboard, Pinterest, and NYTimes.
  • I enjoy being connected with people via Facebook.
  • I refuse to be a lurker on Facebook. If you have the keen interest in knowing what’s going on in someone’s life, have the audacity to at least share it with them.
  • I think FB has started to take more time than I want to give it. Of course, it is all in one’s own control. But if it really was, I won’t be writing this post.
  • I love the content diversity that FB provides. Based on my activity till date, the app has successfully captured my interest in using it as a primary mechanism to consume digital content. 
So what is the problem? I want the content minus the social activity logging that folks like me end up doing on FB. I don’t like to see who ate where and when. But for no good reason other than a random peer effect, I also start doing it and I don’t really like it. It wastes my time and those of the people around me. The only aspect that I enjoy about this social trail is the archiving ability. I love it when FB tells me where I was a year ago and with whom. I cannot have one if I don’t give in to the other. So the vicious circle continues.
If I had to specify my ask. It is simple. Please let me use the app for news and other digital content. And let me select when I want to view the social logging of my selected friends. I know that ain’t happening anytime soon. So my problem can only be solved if I shift my base and try to establish a content stream for me, elsewhere. My options are – Flipboard and the new news app from Apple. I am leaning more towards the Apple app. 
About FB. I love the fact that I am connected via it to my friends and family. I love to read their updates and milestones in life. I also love consuming content some of them create or curate. And so I will continue to use it. But to stay connected and not to consume content. It is also my new year resolve to create more than consume. And hence, I will share what I create using FB.
Net net – this is my solution to my social conundrum. Do you have a better idea? Would love to hear.

Eggnog Banana bread pudding

I got some egg nog during the holidays for Agam and Tara. I am not a fan of it in general. With the holiday season withering off, their interest in it also dwindled. And so I had to put the cup or so of the remaining egg nog to use.

Here’s what I did 
Clovers egg nog – 1cup 
Four slices of bread
Three eggs 
2 tbsp ghee
Two Bananas
Mix the eggnog, eggs and ghee together. 
Chop the bananas and add to it 
Brush a baking pan with butter and layer bread cut into quarters. Add a layer of liquid mix you made above. Now add another layer of bread and pour the remaining liquid over it. Place some bread on the side of the pan for a yummy crust. 
Bake at 400 for 50min

Pancakes .. my style.. from scratch

I wanted to make a healthy version of pancakes for the three of us. For the record Tara had like two of these. That’s right. I don’t need no more testimonials.

1/3 cup wheatgerm
1/3 cup oat flour
1/3 cup any pancake mix
1 tsp Vanilla flavor
2 eggs
1/3 cup butter
pinch of salt
dash of sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese

Mix it all up and take it to the griddle. 


As we watched the sunset tonight, a myriad of thoughts crowded my mind. Some are worth sharing, so here I go.

I have been chasing sunsets for well over eight years now and in my experience a clear day ends in the most boring sunset. On the other hand, a few scattered clouds in the sky lead to a more enjoyable sunset. Those are the days when rays from the dipping sun reflect against the clouds and paint beautiful patterns in the sky. And those are my favorite kind of sunsets.

Just like sunsets, our lives also derive a lot of color and meaning from the few dark clouds that pass us by from time to time. Each dark experience helps us reflect on a side of life that we might have ignored. Each stumble helps us become more aware of the path we are on, and prepares us better for the journey ahead.

I often hear phrases like, “but why me?”, and not so long ago I also felt that way at times. But with each sunset we become wiser. And my new found wisdom tells me that I was chosen for the dark experience, either because I am extremely capable of handling it, or because there is something I need to learn from it, which will help me prepare for a better future. Just like the clouds that lead to a better sunset.

So next time you think you have hit a wet patch of rain or may be some dark clouds, remember that a fabulous sunset is just around the corner.

Another thought that slowly bubbled up as we drove past Ocean Beach this evening was that not everyone enjoys sunsets for the same reason. Some like to see the ball of fire take a dip into the ocean, and some like to see the aftermath of that dip. I like both. It’s not just about the action that you take, but also about the impact it has.

Two beautiful thoughts to end the year with.

Happy New Year

Yays and Nays of 2015!

Ah it’s time for my favorite post of the year. It’s time for the Yays and Nays of 2015! Let’s cut it short and get to the list asap. As always let’s start with Yays

  1. TARA! OH Tara! You are the little nugget that I did not know I was missing in my life. And now that you have fitted so well in our little nest, I wonder how I ever lived without you. Your milestones, your tantrums and your love made it to the top of the list this year.
  2. I shared some amazing time with my Mum while she was here earlier this year. I will always cherish the days she spoilt me rotten with her care after Tara was born.
  3. I finally found a job close to home. Always wondered what it felt like to wake up at 7:45am and be at work before 8:30. Now I know – it feels pretty awesome.
  4. Made it through a year of breast feeding..and we are still at it. I did not plan to. I did not even intend to. I don’t even believe in its magical properties. I just loved it. I loved it because it was my time with my lil Tara. We share a special bond because I was able to feed her. I am thankful to the nurses at Lucille Packard who lay the foundation for us. 
  5. We kept going strong with our travels even with Tara. Santa Barbara, Yosemite, London, Maui and San Francisco. I want her to love travel, just like I do. So far the signs are strong. 
  6. In my very first attempt I was able to raise almost $200 in an org wide fund raising event. And since that is matched by Google, I basically raised $400 for a local bay area charity. So how did I do that? I put a lunch/brunch at our place with Indian food made from scratch for auction, and several of my awesome colleagues bid on it. Loved it.
  7. Thanks to Google’s Donation Match program I felt even more motivated to donate for causes that I care about. It felt great to see my annual contribution hitting new thresholds. That also included donating my corp holiday gift this year.
  8. I took a pretty cool cooking class that opened my eyes to simpler and healthier meals for the three of us. I am finally free from the tentacles of curries and lentils and rotis and rice. I create dishes and I am finally able to put the fresh seasonal vegetables from the farmer’s market to good use.
  9. We finally started having dinner between 6:00pm-6:30pm. It makes our life so much simpler and so much disciplined. I always wanted to eat early, but somehow that never ended up happening. 
  10. I slept quite well this year. Yes, for a new mom to admit that almost feels sinful. But the hours I slept, I slept well. I was always more relaxed and rested each morning.
  11. I get a lot more done in the 24 hours I have each day. A LOT more. 
  12. I found an extended family in the form of Tara’s teachers at Learning Links. I love those people and I get a lot of love back from them and even from the kids at the day care. I spend every single hour I can take off from work with them and they add so much joy to my life. 
  13. 10 years in US (and no driving ticket).
  14. I am back to drinking wine again 🙂
  15. Agam and I found some amazing synergies in getting things done around the house without it becoming a chore for one person. It was amazing to build those synergies. Cheers to more such synergies.

  1. Lost my maternal uncle. He was the youngest in my Mom’s family. I felt terrible telling my Aunty to let him go. But I am so proud of her. She did the right thing. She is such an inspiration to me. I wish I had told her that in a more happier context. 
  2. After working towards my dream role and a dream job for almost eight years, I gave it all up to come join Google. I did not give it up for Google. I gave it up for Tara. It hurts me every single day and I won’t hide how foolish I feel about myself on most days. It is very tough to accept, but accept I must. I should have thought more about it. I killed a dream in one blow. And I know opportunity knocks again, but boy I don’t have eight more years worth of stamina in me no more. I have a child to raise, and raising tiny humans is exhausting. And yes I know it is all worth it in the end. But I am not at the end, and it is a steep climb to get to the point where it will feel like that. For now, I reminisce my days at Salesforce and feel grateful I got to experience that for whatever little time I did.
  3. I did not write much in 2015. 
  4. I read even less. 
  5. Obviously being diagnosed as pre-diabetic wasn’t a really a great thing. But better know it early and fix your ways before it gets too late.
  6. Health is in quite bad shape. We are eating better. But we are not working out. There is a gym right opposite the building I work at and yet I don’t find the time. I am so ashamed about it.
  7. Although I got more done in the day, I always have a nagging feeling that I could have done more with the day. It is a little disturbing. I did not use my 8pm-10pm slot as judiciously as I intended to. FB took up a lot of that time. I should have used it to read more or write more instead. So a Nay to that nagging feeling.

This has never happened before. My Yays are double in number to my Nays. That’s definitely a first. I mean, I always end up balancing them out in the end. But despite some strong Nays here, we had a stellar year!

Now on to some resolutions
  1. Pack more activity in my day. There are a few elements to this – I need to take out 30-45min to work out in a day. I also need at least 30min of dedicated reading time and at least 30min of dedicated writing time, at least thrice a week. So hold me accountable if you don’t see at least a few blog posts (not FB posts) per week from me. 
  2. Eat Healthy at Google. It is so easy to slip into bad habits. I need to stick to salads at lunch and use Baadal and Brgr as treat days to motivate me to be a good eater through the month.
  3. I cannot work on things that don’t challenge me enough and so I am going to split this year into two halves – first half, find the challenge and second half, overcome it.
  4. Listen more. Pretty self explanatory.
  5. Stretch myself – needs to be defined

Giving thanks…

I I have so much to be thankful for this year. And I know Thanksgiving was almost a month ago, but it is never too late to be thankful.

Everyone knows I love bullet points. So here I go again.

  • I am thankful for the joy that I experience in the form of Tara every single day.
  • The smiles that she evokes in us and the feeling of love, benevolence, affection, gratitude and warmth that she inspires in me.
  • I am thankful to my family who came from far and wide to share Tara’s joy with us.
  • To my friends who stood by me when I needed them and kept checking in, no matter how unreachable I was most of this year.
  • I am so so so thankful to Tara’s teachers. They are our extended family. I cannot imagine a better care facility for Tara than Learning Links.
  • I am also very thankful to Google for giving me a work place where I could pump milk for Tara twice a day for several months. For giving me a job that allows me to be close to her. For the flexibility it lends me to make time for Tara’s appointments. For the food that it provides that nourishes all three of us. For the compensation and benefits that allows us to continue living in MTV. And the opportunity it provided me to experience scale like never seen before.
  • A big thanks to the fellow mommies who helped me with my silly questions at all sort of ungodly hours.
  • And for the technology, innovation and entrepreneurship that blossoms in this valley. It is because of this that I kept the house running, sitting in a rocking chair from Dec’14 – March’15. The Instacart, Amazon Prime, Google Shopping and of course DoorDash.
  • I am thankful for the amazing partner I picked for myself. We make a stellar team and I won’t even be modest about it. He keeps us sane at all times.
  • And in the end..I am thankful to myself. For growing up when it was time and learn that my life will never be the same, for good. I am not in denial of what will happen to my career in the next few years. And I will leverage that cognizance to make it worthwhile whenever I can.

Egg Souffle

I was being lazy this morning since our schedule was thrown off by Tara’s sleeping in. Unfortunately even though she slept until 8:45. I was tossing and turning since 6:30am. While in bed I whipped this recipe in my mind.

Take a ramekin dish and spray oil. Layer slices of Tomato and Cheese slices on it. Beat 4 eggs and add some salt and black pepper to them. Pour the eggs into the dish. Chop some fresh basil and add a layer of cheese slices on top. Sprinkle some red chili flakes and black pepper. Bake at 375 for 20min or until the egg swells and the inside is cooked. I use a skewer to check if it is cooked.

Let the dish cool a bit and then cut pieces and serve

For Tara’s version – I beat and egg, added some cheddar cheese and some marinara sauce in the mix and baked the entire thing in a small ramekin bowl for 10-15min until it was done. She liked it 🙂

Impromptu Banana Muffins

I always thought baking was all about precision. And today I proved myself wrong. I really wanted to get the muffins in the oven before Tara and Daddy came down for breakfast. And since Tara had slept in today, we were all running pretty late. At first I thought of running up for my phone to remind myself of the recipe since I always mix things ups. But instead, I took upon myself the challenge to create without reading. And I loved the experience. It was so much better than reading my old recipe notes.

For 12 muffins I did this

1/2 cup oats flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
3 Bananas
3 Eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (melted)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon

Mix it all up and bake at 350 for 20min.

Loved the results and was liberated from the recipe 😀

Happy Birthday Tara Rum Pum

Dear Tara,

A very happy first birthday. I am a little late in writing to you. We just talk these days. Don’t we? But this blog is my gift to you and through it I want to give you a context of what was going on in this world, and in our lives while you were growing up, and too busy to read the news yourself and track your own milestones 😉
Where do I begin? The world is in shatters. There are floods, wars, gun violence, intolerance and what not. What a depressing thought. But the good news is that we humans are a very resilient species. We adopt this new normal and move on. And so should you. Unless you want to do something about it. And I will encourage you to do so, if you wish to.
So what else is happening? Well we went to London in November. It was your first trip outside of US. And what a champ traveler you are. Making friends along the way and pleasing people with your charming smile. We all had so much fun together. And I think we had even more fun because you are now walking. My little trotter. I am amazed at how well you adjust to new surroundings. Stay that way. It helps. Believe me. This world will keep on changing its ways on you. You have to stay flexible, and adapt to the new and novel.

As I type, strong winds are hitting the cherry blossom tree outside our house. Soon the tree will loose all its leaves. And we will get used to seeing it like that. And then one day, hopefully in February/March, we will see some flowers come back and we will welcome Spring. This circle continues. I am telling you that because I want you to remember this when some days it gets difficult to believe the world you are living in. Just remember that it will change, not always for the better, but it does change. 
We celebrated your first birthday at home. It was just Daddy and me. But we could get some face time with loved ones and that made it all the more special. Did you like it when Ishu and Manya sang for you? You seemed to have enjoyed it. It is on these occasions that Mommy misses family. I wish we were surrounded by all our loved ones on your special day. Well I know their wishes were with us 🙂
We also had a lovely celebration at Learning Links on the Monday after your birthday. Mama baked some banana muffins for your friends and your teachers and everyone sang for you and enjoyed the muffins with you, while you held the court wearing a tiara that your teachers made for you. We are so thankful to them Tara. I cannot even pick word to express my gratitude for them. I promise, that no matter how big you become, I will always make sure you stay in touch with all of them.
Tara, you are picking up new words now. happy, Nina, no no, more and of course Mama, Mommy, Daddy. I can’t wait for you to tell me about your day’s events in your own words some day. I promise to put everything aside and listen to your tale. 
In a few weeks we will celebrate your birthday with our extended family, here in Bay area. These are people you will grow up with. The kids you will meet at this party will be your friends some day. I hope the weather stays mild that day so all of you can enjoy outdoors and indoors. This is a great milestone for Mommy and Daddy. Five years ago, we got married in the company of some of the friends you will meet that day, and then we invited everyone to bless our home three years ago and in December we will share our joys again with them, thanks to you 🙂
In case you were wondering what we gave you on your first birthday, just want to let you know that you will not be receiving any special gifts for your birthday from Mommy and Daddy. There are other kids who can use that special something for their development. You will get our love, and things that we think you need from time to time, all through the year. No need to wait for your birthday for the excitement. Each day can bring some surprise for you 🙂 That’s how your Mommy was raised. And I am going to make an attempt to keep it that way for you.
Until next time,