28 October 2009

Book Review: Eat, Love and Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert

Picture taken from here

What do I say about this book? If there ever such thing as a book-writing-soul-sister, Elizabeth Gilbert is mine!!!....we share the same passions- food, language (in fact, we are as specific as loving Italian..most of my friends like French but I like Italian~ohh...I don't understand a word but I just love the sounds of the language), spirituality and love!..Now wouldn't that qualify me to be a blog-writing-soul-sister to this book-writing-soul-sister?:D

The book narrates Gilbert's feelings and experience as she travels across Italy, India and Indonesia in search of herself following a bitter divorce and a failed rebound romance (the book cover says its her search for'everything' but its really her own true self she ends up searching). Gilbert's writing is funny, heart-warming and candid-something I thoroughly enjoy! I loved how she neither blamesnor credits anyone but herself for her life- something we all should realise too....aren't we,after all, the makers of our destinies?

Whether or not anyone reads the book (not everyone may want to read about a woman, her feelings and her spirituality), I wanted to pass on some very interesting thoughts that stayed with me even after I finished reading the book:
Eat (indulge yourself):
Contrary to the social norm, Gilbert (and in the past few years of married life, I too), think each one of us should do something each day, or least once in a while, just for our own selves....mind you, I am not talking about being self centred or selfish here...just that we do something that gives us some pleasure....many-a-times, we (especially women) forget that we have our own loves and choices...all I am saying is we don't forget indulging our own pleasures...doesn't matter what it is- read a book, watch a movie, go on a shopping spree, cook a meal, play a game, sing, dance...as long as it is therapeutic! Like my wise friend at work, V, says: wouldn't a happier me have a better chance of making everyone else around happier too?

Pray (stay connected)
This one I love: Gilbert says don't try to change your personality just for aping someone...of course there are better people around but try to find whats your best trait and enhance it...if God wanted you to have another personality, he would have given it you!..just stay connected with your soul, try be yourself and try to be good, the rest just falls into place!

Love (be open)
Finally, never shut the door on love....you never know when it could come knocking! and I am not talking just the romantic love here...love in all forms and shapes, be it from your parents, your friends, your siblings, your kiddos- is precious!!!Hold on to those delicate strings cause they have the strength to save you should you ever fall!

Sorry folks if this seems like philosophy blabber but I couldn't resist...I absolutely loved the book! My funda in life is exactly the same- pleasure, laughter and a little bit of spirituality. Read the book if you these three things excite you as well!

Happy reading,

P.S. Has anyone else read this book? Wondering what they thought about it!

21 October 2009

Dil Bole Diwali!!

The splash of colour
the sparkle of lamps
the tinkling of laughter
the celebration of joy
the delicious food
the feisty firecrackers
the welcoming of light
the farewell to dark
the celebration of love
the loveliest of times!!!!

This Diwali, N and I sat down with our morning tea reminiscing our childhood memories of Diwali...about the innocent excitement that buzzed through us as kids and everyone else around on the day of Diwali...the rituals, the worships, the rangolis, the lamps, the lanterns, the food, the firecrackers and more than anything else, the people....super-duper times, I say!!! Less than 30 mins into this flashback mode, and both N and I got charged up...we too wanted to 'do something' (overflow of 'kuch toh karte hain yaar' emotions)!!

So here's what we did over the next two days,
~We conjured up an instant version of the utna (this is a Diwali-special, Marathi traditional version of Fair and lovely)...using coconut oil, sandalwood and orange powders :D (hilarious, I know but when you are this far from home and desperate, anything works!)

~N put on some lights, as after all, isn't that what Deepavali literally means? The chain of lights??

~We made masala dudh as offering to Dev Bappa for the Diwali puja

~We went to a nearby Mahalaxmi temple for the Kanakabhishek puja....this is an amazing puja, where they literally do an abhishek of Goddess Laxmi with new (gold-like looking) dollar coins...rumor has it that if you witness the puja, your next 7 generations (at least) wont face poverty (this was my second time of witnessing this puja, does that make my next 14 generations immune??!!)

~We went to a lovely get-to-gether at UBC, where we made new friends and laughed as the kids lit the sparklers (fulbaajis) and enjoyed some of the most amazing food ever!!

~And, believe it or not, I also made some faraal (both the aais were very happy to hear this!)

-the besan ladoos are microwave ones using Bhatukli's recipe...this one is an amazing, super-easy recipe and works really really really well, especially for first timers like me!!..click here to find out more.
-for the chaklis, I followed Chefinyou's recipe...these came out quite well too, considering I made them for the second time in my entire life!..check out the recipe here.

Happy Diwali everyone, I know I aam a little late but I hope you too had a lovely time with your loved ones....may the coming year be full of happiness and prosperity!

Festive wishes,

14 October 2009

Rava Dosa- restaurant ishtyle!

Last Monday, N & I were invited to one of our Bengali friend's house for lunch...anyone who has Bengali friends should know how much these folks love their food (on second thoughts, its not just them...ALL Indians absolutely LOVE their food!!)...anywho, after a bigggg meal of chicken, fish, veggies, rice, cheesecake, misthi doi, N and I were heavy as stones!

Come dinner-time and both N and I wanted 'something light'...so I rummaged the fridge and in keeping with my typical-weekend-fridge-situation, I find no groceries left!!!After a little bit of thinking, I finally decided to use two staples you will always find in my kitchen no matter what...rice flour and rava...and then used them to make rava dosa!!....I love this one because this is a jhatpat recipe (no fermentation involved)...and all you need is a good nonstick tawa/girdle and a clean set of hands!!

For the recipe, I combined two recipes from the blogosphere:
1. For the ingredients, I followed Usha's Veginspirations recipe from here....my tweak to the recipe? I didn't add any flax, instead went with some fresh coconut and cashews to get the restaurant feel
2. For the actual dosa making, I followed Sanjay's VahreVah procedure...interestingly, rava dosa recipe calls for sprinkling of the batter, unlike the typical dosas which involve spreading the batter in a circle on the girdle. Check out the video here.

The final product looked like this....I served it with some coconut chutney:

A closer view

The dosas turned out fabulously light and crispy, just like the restaurant ones...N and I gobbled down quite a few(out went the 'eating light' funda)...and when i asked N how he liked the dosas, he said they were 'totally blogworthy'!!!:D


P.S. I realized yesterday that I haven’t posted anything about food of late (and when the blog name beings with the word ‘Food’, this is just not done!!!)

10 October 2009

Time to say some thanks!

Its Thanksgiving in Canada this Monday...unlike Americans who celebrate Thanksgiving in November, Canadians express their gratitude in October...traditionally, this was an occasion to celebrate the harvest and give thanks for a successful bounty of crops....this Monday, my Canadians colleagues and friends will be enjoying time with their families, stuffing themselves with turkey and pumpkin pies!! Lovely, I say!!

Picture from here

N & I will be celebrating Diwali this weekend....but then its never a bad idea to express your thanks, right?? I strongly feel that in Indian culture, one of the things we lack is sincere expression of our gratitude....while the Western culture is very vocal about the things they are grateful for, we tend to assume that everyone should just know ('whats-the-need-to-say-thanks?-they-should-know-how-I-feel' syndrome).

So here are my top five things I want to be thankful for (in no particular order):

a. N.....my love, my friend, philosopher and guide....Do I need to say anything more?
b. My family, especially mine and N's parents....I could not have asked for nicer parents
c. My work...without which my gray cells would rust
d. My blog....for giving me a platform to express myself
e. My Guru...my spiritual anchor for giving me my inner strength

So many people and things to thank for and so little words!

Whats on your list? Give it some thought...believe me, its worth the effort!


P.S. I am also very very thankful for the long weekend, of course!!:)