Wednesday, April 2, 2014

It’s that time of the year again!

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Yes the seeds have been planted inside! We sowed – cherry tomato, stupice tomato, summer squash, zucchini and jalapeno pepper. We also put some fenugreek and cilantro in bigger pots. I’ll share a picture of them later.

Yes some of the above pots are the remnants of single server yogurt Smile. Unlike last year, this year we’ve sowed the seeds directly in compost and have bypassed the vermiculite. From my observation, I think the seeds sprouts quite fast in vermiculite as compared to compost.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Rosie Project

Author: Graeme Simsion

This was one of those books that left to myself I would’ve read it one sitting; but we all know how life goes Smile

It’s a love story but it’s different (seems like a line straight from the mouth of a bollywood actor). The hero of the love story, Don, is on the spectrum of autism, highly intelligent, socially inept, very organized and looking for a wife. In his past experiences with women, he realized that they were all the wrong women and he wasted time in figuring out whether they could potentially be his wife. So he starts what he calls “The Wife Project”. As part of the project, he designs a questionnaire which must be filled by all prospective “wives” before he can date them. As part of this project he meets Rosie. Rosie is looking for her biological father and it so happens that Don has the resources to help her out. His journey through the Wife Project as well as helping Rosie find her father is hilarious!

If you’re looking for good humor, then this is it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Daffodils make a statement...



When March knocks on the door
Daffodils step out of the earth
Wiping the gray and white of the winter
as if the sun has risen
shining in bright hues of yellow
Announcing to the earth
Spring is here!


Monday, February 17, 2014

The China Study

Author: Colin and Thomas Campbell

Well the cover the tells you what this book is about “the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted”. I don’t know if it’s the most comprehensive or not; but I would say that they’ve done a lot of research. The book focuses on the effects of animal food vs plant food on the human body. The authors did research on rats as well as humans. The reason it’s called “china study” is because the authors were part of a big research project that studied the effects of dietary habits on people in China.

The authors attack the common myth most people have that a meal should be heavily dominated by proteins and that plant food doesn’t have enough protein so they need to resort to animal food.

There are a few chapters devoted to major diseases like cancer, heart diseases, etc. and how they’re a bane of the meals rich in animal food. Thy were also able to quote some real studies done on people who had heart diseases and how a low fat diet rich in plant food helped the patients.

Then they talk about the basic principles of nutrition. This seems similar to Michael Pollan’s rules. The number one being – which was and is my favorite even before I read this book – eat food and not nutrients. Food is more than sum of its parts. Implying eating an orange is more than eating separately whatever it’s constituents comprise.

It does get tiring to read about so many studies etc. and so I did skip some sections. Other than I think it’s an interesting book. If you’re baffled by all the protein debates that you keep hearing these days, then this is the book for you.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lean In

Author: Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and recently became the first female billionaire. In this book, she talks about women in the workplace. About biases against women, about biases among women, about how women can have a work life balance, what you need to have such a balance and so on. I was a little skeptical before reading this book – it sounds like one of those self help books that give you nothing more than common knowledge. However the more I read it the more impressed I was. There were so many things I hadn’t thought about and still wouldn’t if I hadn’t read it. There’s a lot of good, practical information in the book.

For example, there’s one topic I specifically remember because I never thought about it the way she explained it. Sheryl says that many women shy away from the workplace because they have kids and the salary they would get would barely cover the daycare expenses. So they’re unable to justify being a salaried employee. However she says that it is only in the beginning. As you progress in your career, your salary would eventually high enough for you to be able to justify to yourself.

The book is not just about theories and anecdotes from her life, she’s quoted a number of research studies on various subjects.

I would recommend this book for not just women but also men. Men share the space with women – be it in the workplace or at home.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Quick pots de creme

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I’m always looking for simple and quick desserts. This quick pots de crème from King Arthur fit the bill perfectly!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I’d fresh cream so I used that)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions

1) Place the chocolate chips, salt, sugar, and espresso powder in a blender or food processor and pulse until finely ground.

2) Add the egg and pulse just until the mixture is smooth.

3) Heat the cream to just below a boil, with small bubbles forming around the edge of the saucepan (or microwave-safe bowl).

4) Turn on the processor, and slowly add the cream. Scrape down the sides of the container if necessary. Add the flavoring of your choice and pulse to blend.

5) Divide into 6 individual serving cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

It was liked by one and all! Can you see the little white thing towards the bottom of the bowl? I’d some ladyfingers stashed in the freezer. I thought this would be a good time to use them. Turned out it wasn’t a bad idea!

If you’re running low on the clock and looking for a yummy chocolate dessert then look no further Smile

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sabitri’s story

I’m a big fan of KIVA and have been a lender of it since it’s early stages. KIVA is a non-profit organization which does micro-financing in developing nations. A few years back KIVA also added India to its portfolio. That made me very happy because I think there are a lot of people in India that could use such a service.

Recently I got a newsletter from KIVA which had this story. Of course it shows how much good KIVA did but more than that it shows the resolve of this woman and that made my heart so happy. I wanted to share this story with one and all because I think it can be an inspiration for each one of us.

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Sabitri was born without working legs. She learned to carry her body around primarily on her arms, and at 34, her upper arms muscles are so strong they resemble those of an American football player. She is dedicated to supporting herself and her family. For nearly 10 years she has worked alongside her brother as a government contractor, selling highly subsidized rice and kerosene to the families in her village living below the poverty line. Her brother is in charge of transporting items to and from the market, while Sabitri runs the shop out of the two rooms in the front of their house.

Last year, Sabitri applied for a loan from Kiva through People’s Forum to expand her business to include the sale of aluminum pots and containers, which are staples in all kitchens in Odisha. In a short amount of time, her daily income has jumped from 3,000 INR (about $50 USD) a month, to between 8,000 and 10,000 INR a month. She has invested some of these increased earnings in her business and family expenses, but she is using most of it to build a new home to live in with her brother, his wife, and their two children. A huge improvement from the single room they currently share, a new home with three rooms would provide them with much more space.

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You can donate to KIVA in multiples of $25; you would be surprised to see how far your $25 go!