Toddlerhood – the time when a child is between 1 and 3 years of age – is a precious phase. This is the time when kids are at their most notorious, driving their parents up the wall every so often – yet, this is when they are at their most vulnerable and adorable best. This is also when the time when they are exploring the world around them, food included. They are slowly learning to navigate the world, understand what they like and what they don’t and, as parents, it is our duty to help them do just that. In terms of food, toddlers should be exposed to a variety of finger foods – stuff they can easily hold in their little hands and eat on their own. This has a number of benefits, from improvement in gross and fine motor co-ordination and sensory integration to improved bonding with the parents and a deeper sense of ‘home’.
This week, the theme at Foodie Monday Blog Hop is just that – #ToddlerFingerFoods. For this theme, which is super close to my heart, I decided to prepare one of the bub’s favourite toddler snacks – pretty Cocktail Idli Flowers or naturally coloured mini idlis arranged into flowers.
Check out the recipe, just in on my photo blog!
Eid is just around the corner! Here’s wishing good times to all those who are celebrating! 🙂
Today, I present to you a recipe for Bread Rolls or Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets that you can make for Iftaar, the routine breaking of the fast during Ramzaan. You can also make these on the occasion of Eid, a hearty and nutritious vegetarian snack, a snack that I have happy memories of.
Check out the recipe, just in on my photo blog! 🙂
These fusion Healthy Indian Vegetable Noodles are a regular at our table and much loved, even by the bub.
I make this dish using wheat noodles, with no sauces or any other bottled products. Just a hint of home-made garam masala and freshly ground black pepper add oomph to the noodles, as does the bit of raw cane sugar I put in. Further, I fortify the noodles with loads of veggies. Lots of yum, the simple, healthy and desi way!
Check out the recipe, just in on my photo blog!
In most South Indian homes, baby mangoes find their way into vadu maangaai, a simple pickle that tastes absolutely delicious. I love vadu maangaai, but I simply adore the stuffed version of the same that I have grown up eating. An elderly cook in one of our relatives’ home specialised in making this stuffed baby mango pickle, and it was at their place that I first tried it out, as a teenager. I went ga-ga over it, so much so that my mother requested the cook for the recipe, which she shared happily. Since then, this Stuffed Vadu Maangaai has been an integral part of our family as well.
Here’s how to make stuffed baby mango pickle, our style!
‘Food Art’ is the theme for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop this week. I am no high-flying artist, food or otherwise, but I did try out a very simple Pussycat Dosa for the theme and absolutely loved the experience!
Read all about how I made the Pussycat Dosa, just in on my photo blog!
So, so, so, that long-pending trip to Ahmedabad finally happened! On New Year’s day, the husband got confirmation for a work trip to Ahmedabad, and he asked if the bub and I would accompany us. We did just that, flight tickets were booked, and we were off the very next day – as simple as that. After 6 long years, I finally visited the place where I grew up, and it happened Just.Like.That!
Did I find traces of the city I loved so much or has it changed drastically?
Well, yes and no.
Ahmedabad has, indeed, changed drastically. I don’t know the routes in the city any more. I don’t have a home to stay there any more. The area where I used to live in has changed beyond description. There are loads of new shops and eateries that have come up, and some old favourites of mine (the school I studied in included) have disappeared. The few tourist attractions in the city have been given a huge facelift. I have lost touch with the language – I can’t speak it so fluently any more, though I managed to read the script pretty well. That makes a difference, for sure.
But then, some of my old haunts still exist. The heart of the city still remains the same, and I cannot be more thankful for that. I managed to check out a few of them, in the week’s time that we were in the city. I got reacquainted with some foods that I used to love gorging on, and got shocked at just how much the prices have increased since then. I met up with old friends, shared old and new stories, and built better connections. I managed to show my daughter (and husband) some of what my life before them had held. I stayed over at relatives’ places, and liked it better than I had expected to. I rekindled some very old memories, some pleasant, some others not so much. I fell in love with the broad roads and ease of transportation in the city all over again (though it is not the same as before, the traffic is still way better than it is in Bangalore). I discovered new food joints with the husband and friends. I fleetingly visited the apartment I used to call home, and felt stumped. People recognised me and talked to me, and I felt stumped all over again.
Overall, my trip to Ahmedabad after ages was a mixed bag. I was kind of nervous before I left, I admit, of what I’d find there, but it wasn’t so bad. It was wonderful, in fact. I should do this more often, I realise. Hopefully, my next visit won’t take 6 more years!
Stories from Ahmedabad – coming up soon!
So, I was bestowed with the Sunshine Blogger Award by Reena a while ago. Thank you, Reena, for considering all that I ramble about here worth reading and commenting on!
The award came with a set of questions by Reena, which I will answer in this post. Here you go.
- Some funny or crazy incident you would like to share?
I’ll tell you about a crazy thing that happened at our place last Sunday.
The husband, bub and I were having a fun time, out of home, on Sunday evening, when we received a call from my dad. My parents and we stay in the same apartment, in different houses. So, dad told us that BESCOM cut off our electricity supply because we have dues to pay. Just like that, without any intimation to us of any sort. We were stunned, because we have NEVER, EVER missed paying an electricity bill on time! We rushed back home, nice mood all shattered, but the BESCOM guy had already left. The husband called him at the number he had left back, and was told we had to pay BESCOM 500-odd rupees as ASD (Advance Security Deposit), that it had been appearing in all electricity bills since April 2017. We had no clue about this because we pay our bills online, and this particular charge does not reflect while making online payment. And, no, this amount isn’t added to your electricity reading charges, so you can just pay the total amount – it is just mentioned as a footnote in your bill. So, how are we supposed to know?!
Fuming, we paid off the charges online immediately, and called the guy up again, only to be told that his duty timings were over and that he had left office. We asked if there was anyone else we could contact, but it was met in the negative. The electricity would be back by the next day, we were told, as soon as BESCOM could. We could do nothing but wait and fume some more. In the meanwhile, we had to shift all the perishables from our refrigerator to that in our parents’ house. The milk went too, by mistake, and my daughter spent a restless night without her nightly glass of milk – we didn’t want to wake up the parents late in the night and disturb them. Some time in the night, the refrigerator started leaking water, thanks to the being switched off for more than a few hours, and on Monday morning, we woke up to a flooded kitchen. Our UPS battery had drained off completely. Monday blues worsened like never before.
I cooked a simple breakfast and lunch on Monday morning, in partial darkness. I ensured I didn’t cook anything that necessitated grinding in the mixer. Much back and forth happened between my parents’ home and mine, to fetch ingredients from their fridge. Somehow, I packed the bub’s bag and sent her off to school. We held off bathing till the electricity would be restored (no hot water at our place!). All the water in our water filter got used up, and off we ran to the parents’ place again to fetch some more, at least for the bub. The husband worked on his laptop, using whatever little charge was available. I had some urgent work to finish off, and worked on my mobile, making my data charges shoot up sky high. Multiple phone calls to the said guy from BESCOM yielded the same answer – we will restore the power soon! Finally, after much more fuming, the power was restored by Monday evening, and we heaved a sigh of relief.
Phew! What a harrowing experience! For what fault of ours, I still don’t understand. What is the point of maintaining a good track record when it cannot be referred to, in a situation like this? Digital India, eh? If we had paid our electricity bills at the office (a la Dark Ages) this wouldn’t have happened, right?
2. Your 1st thought when you wake up in the morning?
‘God, I haven’t had enough sleep at all!’
Yes, this has become a regular thing with me for the past one year or so. I simply don’t get enough sleep due to a lot of reasons, and almost always wake up tired in the mornings. 😦
3. What stands 1st in your priority list?
My family and my dreams – both on an equal footing.
4. One thing you love about yourself?
Whatever I do, I try to give it my 100%.
5. What is women’s freedom to you?
Being able to do what a woman wants to do, whenever she wants to, without being afraid or getting a talking-to.
6. Can you describe yourself in one word?
Thank you, Reena, for this meme. It feels good to be writing on this space again, after ages!
Last year, around this time, I was in Calcutta, in the thick of Kali Pujo. It was there that I fell in love with the beautiful Bhoger Khichuri, the Bengali khichdi that is offered as prasad to Kali Maa. The bub fell in love with the sweetish khichdi, too. When I returned back home to Bangalore, I began craving for the khichdi all over again, and learnt how to make it too. Today, it is a much-loved dish on our table, especially on winter evenings like this one.
Check out the recipe for bhoger khichuri, just in on my blog!
Packing the bub’s lunchbox for school is a task I find as fulfilling as I find it frustrating.
Yes, it is a tiring thing to do day after day after day, getting up early in the morning to make a little something for her snack time, planning well in advance, having to think creatively every day so that she loves what I have sent for her.
And, yet, it is extremely satisfying. I imagine her opening her dabba at school, her face lighting up at the sight of her favourite poori or khakra, and I realise I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Trying to offer her a mix of different ingredients in the course of a week, trying out little twists to regular recipes, including a cheat snack once in a while – that is my way of bonding with her, I realise. It is a way of developing her palate, developing a healthy interest in food.
I love it when she returns home and tells me: ‘Amma, I loved what you had packed for my snack.’ It is, kind of, saddening to learn that she has left her lunchbox untouched, and has preferred to eat the home-made snacks that are offered at school, instead. I tell myself to be happy that she has, at least, eaten something, that she hasn’t gone hungry the entire school time.
When you are a sort of bored SAHM like me, I realise, you relish these little challenges. Packing lunchboxes that your child can’t resist eating from becomes a task that you can’t take lightly – it is an opportunity for you to think out-of-the-box and take your cooking to new levels.