Summer Peach and Tomato Salad

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"Some people live a lifetime in a minute. What are you doing NOW?" - Col. Frank Slade, Scent of a Woman. Anup is an old soul in a young body. His choice in movies, music and food make me think that he is in his fifties. One of his all time favorite movies is "Scent of a Woman", starring Al Pacino. He plays a blind, retired army colonel. I love this movie as well, but Anup has probably seen it about hundred times, and he still can not not watch it if it's on TV. If you haven't seen this movie, please do - you are in for a treat! If you have seen the movie, you know that it takes an old soul to watch it so many times and still enjoy it! There is a scene in the movie where the blind … [Read more...]

Baked Quinoa Fritters

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One of the most overplayed jokes in the western world goes like this - "If you don't like the weather in {your city} now, just wait a few minutes!" The people saying it also invariably act like they just made it up. The joke implies that the weather in that particular city is very unpredictable. The weather in Vancouver changes so much though, this joke is more like a fact of life. Vancouver's coastal location moderates its temperatures, but the sea breezes and mountains all around the valley make Greater Vancouver a region of microclimates. This translates into quite a bit of local variations in weather. Vancouver also gets a lot of rain because of the mountains, and I am yet to identify a … [Read more...]

Sprouted Chickpea and Beet Salad

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Westerners who haven't traveled to countries like India don't realize how organized and systematic the western world is. When was the last time one of us turned on a switch and the fan or the light didn't turn on? That happens a few times a week in India. You will not find more hand fans and industrial size candles in any other households. We used to get water for about an hour every day and the whole family was on a mission to save up as much as water as we could. And on some days, you won't get water for even that hour. You even knew an alternate route to get to your home in case the stray street dogs were being too aggressive for no apparent reason. All that uncertainty in the everyday … [Read more...]

Millet Polenta with Fiddlehead and Samphire

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Growing up in India, cooking using the produce available during the season wasn't something trendy, it was the only way to eat. Sabjiwalas would load the fresh produce from the farms on their carts and go around the neighborhood. Each Sabjiwala even had a unique shout to call out his clients, letting people know what he was selling that day. "Dungri, Batata ane Bhinda Lai Lo", buy my potatoes, onions and okra today! My mom would buy the produce for the next couple of meals, and haggle over whether she can have the cilantro and chillies for free! Those sabjiwalas were like our family members. If mom didn't buy anything from the guy for a couple of days, he would knock on the door and ask … [Read more...]

Broccoli Salad with Millet

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Canadians take summers seriously, I am sure the drawn out fall followed by a cold winter has a lot to do with it. Anup and I consider ourselves lucky as we live in the warmest part of Canada. For some other parts of Canada though, the old joke of those places having two seasons - winter and july, does apply! Even in Vancouver, I have seen people going overboard trying to make the most of the summer months. Guys wear their shorts even in subzero temperatures, as long as the Calendar says it is May! Its definitely shorts and t-shirt weather right now, and I wanted to capture the summer around my neighborhood today. So I took a stroll, went for a run on a trail next to my … [Read more...]

Cauliflower Soup with Garlic Scapes

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I was at the super market earlier today and I noticed these attention grabbing magazines next to the check out line. One look at the covers of these magazines, and you know why we are struggling to be a healthier society: "Drink this extract and lose belly fat, while you sleep!" "10 super foods to lose 14 pounds in two weeks!" "8 reasons why you don't have six pack abs!" "10 minute workouts to look your best, guaranteed!" "Look sexy this summer, just follow our 6 step plan!" In all this noise of quick fixes the focus on long term healthy habits is completely lost. Why is it important to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks, would it be better if you took more time to create better habits? … [Read more...]

Quinoa and Almond Flour Cake

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I have been trying to jump start my workout and healthy eating habits after my break in Toronto. The first couple of days were the hardest. I felt like the ice creams and cakes I ate on my vacation were literally padded to my legs making it hard for me to move! I am finally over that hump and doing regular weight training at the gym. I like to end my weight training sessions with a high intensity cardio routine; 8-10 minutes of that last hurrah that jacks up your heart rate and gets you sweating hard. I was recently reading an interview of Mark Harari, a personal trainer. In the interview, he talked about his secret weapon, a routine he calls "The 666 Devil Run". You basically run on a 6 … [Read more...]

Cucumber Salad

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“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policies and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” ― John Steinbeck Anup and I just got back from a two week vacation in Toronto! My sister and her husband Nikhil were great hosts and we had an absolute blast! Both of them have been in Canada for about four months and they don't drive yet. So it was more like all of us exploring Toronto together. Between all the things we did in Toronto, Anup and I freed ourselves up for a day so we could drive to his old graduate school, State University of NY in Buffalo. Anup was excited to visit the same … [Read more...]

Black Rice and Carrot Salad

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“It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.” —Dorothy on The Golden Girls I was fortunate to have had two moms growing up, one mom who I spent my evenings with and another one who was my day-time mom, my grandma, who I called "Baa"! My mom had a full time job, working six days a week, so it was my Baa who influenced me more during my early years. She even gave me my first self-defence lessons, showing me how I could bring a boy down to his knees by twisting his arm if he made advances at me! My grandma was a tough cookie. She was widowed while still in her early thirties and she took it upon herself to raise her five young children. Back in those days, women in … [Read more...]

Vegan Ice Cream with Papaya and Coconut Milk

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Anup and I went for a run on our favorite trail a couple of days back and we actually got a bit of color on us! It finally feels like we need to shift our focus from beating the cold weather to beating the heat. Compared to India, we certainly have more tools and resources available to beat the weather. It's almost unfair that we get to sit in our air-conditioned homes all day and complain about the heat outside! Summers in India can be lethal, in the literal sense of the word. I looked up the temperatures today in my hometown Vadodara, and its around 108°F. That's almost 40°F more than in Vancouver. And unlike us, most people there will have to beat that temperature without … [Read more...]