Buckwheat Salad

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The word salad invokes a lot of old memories - most of them unpleasant. For a country which boasts the lowest meat consumption rate in the world, India surprisingly lacks salads in their meals. In fact, I don't remember ever eating a salad as a meal in India. I think this has something to do with Indian families trying to stretch the meal budgets; making a curry out of the vegetables allowed us to eat other cheaper carbs with that curry. So we would have smaller portions of the vegetable dish, what we called Subzi, and pair it with roti bread or rice. My mom would occasionally slice up an onion or carrots if they were about to go bad, but I wouldn't call that a salad by a long shot. Salads … [Read more...]

Tomato Soup

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"You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day. Unless you are too busy. Then you should sit for an hour." - Old Zen Adage It has been sunny for the past few weeks which is unusual because it tends to rain here so much all year round. It was a beautiful summer morning in Vancouver today, we woke up to the sound of two pigeons cooing on our patio! Anup is a morning person and he generally is the first one to get out of bed and make our morning tea. What a sweet hubby! I am not the princess type, but if you saw us in the morning you would think I was the queen! I have to be coaxed out of the bed. The aromas of mint and ginger tea on the stove definitely … [Read more...]

Cabbage and Summer Squash Salad

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You can tell a lot about a family by observing what their daily meals look like. If you saw my family's meals in India for example, you would know that our family valued health and ease of cooking over taste. You would also know that we were creatures of habit - my mom would make certain things on specific days of the week, and there was logic to the whole schedule. She would make khichari, a simple rice and daal porridge cooked together in a pressure cooker, on Friday night. She will knowingly make more so she could use the leftover khichari as breakfast on Saturday, the day she had to leave for work early in the morning. If a dish could be prepared in less than 15 minutes, it was on the … [Read more...]

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...]