Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Paper Mama Photo Challenge: Black and White

This is my pick for the Black and White photo challenge.

I took this picture on a bright sunny day, when we had stopped for lunch somewhere near the Simplon Pass. Though Chi isn't her usual smiley self in this one, I simply love the way her eyes shine :)

The Paper Mama

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Paper Mama Photo Challenge: Fall

My last entry for the 'Mama and Me' contest wasn't a winner... so awful that I didn't even get a special mention! Grrrrrrr I was grouchy for quite a while, and I realised nothing has changed about me... I am such a sore loser! 

Trying my luck again this week with my entry for the 'Fall' Photo Challenge. 

Fall Fairy 

This is Miss Chi trying out her wings for her 'Fall Fairy' halloween costume. She wouldn't stand still for a moment... so this is the best shot I could get! well, what more can you expect from my Little Miss Flying Feet :)
Last Halloween Chi wore a pumpkin costume and looked adorable, but she was too little to be even wonder what the excitement was all about. So this year we are going to have our first proper Halloween.... yay!! I can't help but squeal :) 
I've been buying craft supplies and browsing costume stores. So far, I've given my little girl wings... but there is more to come :) Will update soon!
Till then, keeping my fingers crossed, and relying on my little fairy to cast a winning spell :)

The Paper Mama

Poodle, Potty, Packaging and Peaches

Ever since I've become mommy to Chi, I've been telling all my younger girl friends to have babies as quickly as possible. Mommy-hood is serious business people, you need all the energy and enthusiasm you can possibly muster. 

Unfortunately, I was 31 when Chi was born. So, along with being just plain old lazy, I wasn't very high up on the stamina charts either. I somehow managed to sleep walk through the first grueling year. At 15 months, Chi started sleeping through the night, going to bed on her own, walking, drinking formula milk... and life was looking really good. 

In Mama's shoes... well chappals actually!

Assuming the worst was over, I dared to put my feet up and take a well deserved break. And then... my sweet angel discovered what her feet were for! (Walking is for sissies says she!)

Simple things like shopping or even going outdoors is now a nightmare. Unless she is securely strapped (read tied-down) in her stroller, my aspiring athlete could give the likes of Usain Bolt a run for their money (no pun intended) :)

I had to act quickly! I did the worst thing any mother could do... I bought her a leash! Yeah a leash! Arrrghh, I know... but People, please don't judge me. You have no clue how fast this thing can move! 
To add to my concerns, Chi is a really friendly child... and she does tend to get carried away with her friendliness at times :) At any given chance, she starts chirping 'hi' to anyone who happens to even glance at her, and if they do not look at her, she continues to chirp 'hi' very enthusiastically till they do!!! The fact that she doesn't find strangers strange makes me shudder and tighten my grip on the leash!

I do get the most awful stares, and occasionally there is some pointing and giggling too. I grin like an idiot. So along with all the hip Suisse chickitas walking their fancy chiwawas (who I think are ugly cats pretending to be dogs!), there is me walking my pretty pink poodle :) Well actually she walks me, but then what the hell, I like pretending to be in control :) 

Amidst all the running away, we have made some progress in the potty department. Chi lets me know when she needs to go and is pretty happy sitting on the pot with a book. Once the job is finished, we say bye bye to the previous day's dinner and flush it away. Yay! Only problem is that, I now wake up with a start at the crack of dawn to a loud little voice announcing 'Kaka comingggggg'!!! (Kaka = poo in our mother tongue, Konkani)

Waiting for the day when she makes that trip to the loo alone! 

Leaving you with some recent pics...
We bought a new Nespresso machine. It was a necessity, cause in this part of the world people will drop dead if you serve them just good ol' Nescafe coffee (brings back memories of a train journey to Kolkata, and the shouts of ``Coffeeeeeeee Nes Coffeeeeeee")! I can't figure how anyone can drink such bitter-medicine-type coffee but since my husband is now one of them too, we had to buy one. Chi is the only one who really enjoyed the purchase... this is her crawling in and out of the Nespresso box :)

I do love this picture of my peaches eating oranges :) Chi tasted a sour orange for the first time and didn't even flinch! I think it is time to bring on the karela (bitter gourd). I do love bitter gourd but D refuses to even look at it. So, hoping that Chi has my taste buds and not his!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Paper Mama: Mama and Me Photo Challenge

This is the first time I am entering a photo contest. Thanks to digital photography, we now have enough pictures of ourselves to fill a tiny galaxy!

So after sifting through scores of albums, here is my pick for the 'Mama and Me' contest...
I call it 'Colors of Happiness' :)

Menu Madness

We had this wonderful couple and their kids over for lunch yesterday.

As much as I love having people over, the stress that comes along with the whole affair can give me ulcers.

The to-do list is always enormous... the house needs to be spotless (God help if a guest spots a stray cobweb or a fine layer of dust!), the setting has to be perfect (folded napkins, shiny glasses, cushions at the right angle et all), and the killer item on the list.... the menu!

The fact that our guests are 'white' didn't help much, it meant adding a few more agonising hours to the usual endless hours of pondering over the menu!

After consulting the not-so-helpful husband and wracking my exhausted brains, I decided on an elaborate Mangalorian fare - Chicken roce curry, panpale, pepper beans, a salad, sweet pulao and date chutney. But I was still in doubt... should I make a pork dish too? Will they like the sweet pulao? Will they be able to handle the spice? Are there too few items? (I don't think I gave my decision to marry D this much thought! :))

Anyway, before Doubting Daisy went shopping for groceries, something came upon me (I swear it was divine intervention) and I decided to kill the menu! (Shocking I know!!)

A relatively unknown 'Burmese Khao Suey' was picked instead. D was promptly informed and he was aptly horrified! Now it was Doubting D's turn. He said 'How can you make serve something you've never tried before?' To make it worse, he added 'I don't know, it's up to you!' But I did something very out of character... I didn't sway!

And here is the recipe for Burmese Khao Suey!

6 rounds of egg noodles
2 large onions finely sliced
3 large cloves of garlic chopped
2-3 green chillies chopped
1 inch ginger chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric pwd
1/2 cumin pwd
1 tsp coriander pwd
1/2 tsp chilli pwd
6 chicken thighs
400 ml coconut milk
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

6 hard boiled eggs
125 gms fresh coriander
5 sprigs of spring onions
Roasted and salted peanuts
2 Lemons
Chilli flakes/ green chillies
2-3 onions
4 -5 cloves of garlic

To make the chicken broth, first fry the sliced onions in some oil, once they turn translucent, add the chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies. Fry for 5 minutes. Add the powders, and mix well. Now add the chicken and mix well so that the chicken is coated with the masala. Add enough boiling water to cover the chicken, add lime juice, salt and let the chicken cook.

While the chicken cooks, prepare the garnishings -

In a little oil fry sliced garlic till crisp. Be careful not to burn it. Or, you can save yourself the trouble and buy fried garlic at your nearest Asian store!
In the same oil fry finely sliced onions and till golden brown. Alternatively you can use store bought fried onions.
Quarter the boiled eggs
Chopped the coriander
Chop the spring onions - both the white and the green parts
Slightly crush the peanuts
Make lemon wedges
Chop the green chillies or simply use red chilli flakes from a bottle like I did :)

Once the chicken is cooked, take each piece out of the pan and roughly shred the meat with 2 forks. Add the meat back to the curry and discard the bones. Now, add the coconut milk and let the curry simmer.

Cook the noodles as per the instructions on the packet. Drain and set aside. Remember to under cook them a little bit. Just before you are ready to serve, immerse the noodles in boiling water and drain. 

How to serve:
Scoop the noodles into a deep bowl, top it with the chicken broth and load the garnishing as per taste.

Eating Khao Suey is fun since everyone gets to add their own touch to their meal. The lunch went off well, the conversation flowed and people ate well. I'm glad I changed my mind and the menu! It saved me so much time and was so simple.

And yeah, for dessert I served chocolate dipped strawberries with ice cream and chocolate sauce :)