Broccoli Salad with Millet


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...]

Cucumber Salad


“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


“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...]

Zucchini and Chickpea Salad


Guys, it's the first day of spring! Last night laying in bed, Anup and I gave each other props for surviving another winter here in Canada. A random memory from India comes to mind. Unlike in the western world, we don't get running water all day long in India. The municipality gives running water about one hour a day, and in this window of time, people have to save up water they might need during the day. Most homes build a water tank that can store up the water for later use. My grandma, who lived with us and was always home, was in charge of this task. All she had to do was turn on the switch for the motor to fill up the tank. She would turn on the switch, and then sit out on the … [Read more...]

Roasted Beet Salad with Barley


It's a lazy Sunday afternoon in Vancouver. I survive cloudy days like today with gallons of green tea with lemon! I went to the gym early today and had a good workout with my hubby. What does your Sunday look like? Sundays can reveal a lot of things about a person or family. The religious are seen at the church while the laid backs sleep in, the foodies are at their favorite restaurants while the gym is packed with the health conscious. Back in India, my family had a Sunday routine we all looked forward to. After the morning tea, my dad would spare an hour or so cleaning up his scooter. He was meticulous about maintaining all his equipment and Sundays were perfect for this favorite … [Read more...]

Fennel Salad


There are beautiful mountains all over British Columbia and we have some of the best ski resorts in the world. Some people look forward to winters, especially here in Vancouver. I on the other hand, have only tried skiing once and I wasn't particularly good at it. I feel a bit out of my element in the cold weather. I have been lucky to have lived in placed with sunny, tropical weather all my life before coming to Vancouver. Needless to say, Vancouver has been quite an adjustment, and I am not the most jolly person to be around this time of the year! My younger sister, Lopa, moved to Toronto couple of weeks back. She had lived in London for a little over a year, but she hasn't seen … [Read more...]

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Millet


"Let your food be your medicine and your medicine your food". -Hippocrates Growing up as a kid in India, my daily diet reflected this simple philosophy. We ate our food according to the needs of our bodies. Eating seasonal food automatically took care of the body's nutritional requirements for that season. I also remember a number of my mom's home remedies to common ailments - Sore throat? Honey with turmeric. Upset stomach? Bitter green juice. Food was indeed our medicine. From what I read and hear about the food culture in the western world a few decades ago, it wasn't much different from India. It can not be a coincidence then, how the "factory food" culture has dragged in the same … [Read more...]

Lentil Salad – Beluga Lentils with Eggplant Relish


India has changed a lot in the last 12-15 years that I have been out of the country for. Back when I was living there, we had no cell phones, most families had no cars and made do with lot less compared to now. For young kids, fashion generally meant permutations and combinations of the two pairs of jeans and 3 t-shirts they owned. I remember my dad had two pairs of shoes - sports shoes and formal shoes. Formal shoes were leather shoes he wore at work or at social gatherings, and sports shoes were the utility shoes for the day-to-day use. My mom never wore make up, the only day she put on lipstick was at my wedding. When I arrived in California in 2001, the first thing I noticed was how … [Read more...]

Wheat Berry and Butternut Squash Salad


I think all immigrants who come to the western world have their own funny stories related to English pronunciation and accents, and we are no exception. Over the 12 years or so that we have been here, we have picked up on slangs and new ways of explaining ourselves, but it has certainly been a process. When we lived in Dallas, we had to explain to our parents how they were pronouncing the city wrong - it was Da as in David, and Not Du as in Dull. "Da-llas" not ""Dull-Ass". Then we were in Miami, and we had to fix their "Me-Amy". Anup still defends himself when I bring up a funny incident that happened in Dallas. Anup's business partner had a four year old son, Cooper, we babysat one … [Read more...]

A Healthy Snack – Roasted Lentils with Green Mango Salsa


Jugaad (Hindi: जुगाड़) - Jugaad is a term applied to a creative or innovative idea providing a quick, alternative way of solving or fixing a problem. Jugaad literally means an improvised arrangement or work-around, which has to be used because of lack of resources. Jugaad sums up a lifestyle of millions of people in India. I saw my parents buy a dress for me, which got passed on to my little sister. When she outgrew the dress, it was turned into a pillow cover. When the cover started showing holes, it was turned into a cloth to clean our bicycles with. Poor dress. Jugaad is most visible if you are traveling in India by train. Four people might be sitting on a berth that's meant for … [Read more...]