Sauteed vegetables for lunch

Well, I guess this is what happens when you are working from home, incessantly being short of time, handling a long(ish) to-do list for the day while managing your kid’s online classes. Lunches need to be made quickly, all cut, cooked and served hot, within your lunch break, before you jump in to join your early noon call with colleagues. I found a simple hack.

I have prepared the tofu first by cutting it into half inch cubes, sauteing them in little oil and kept them aside. Later, I have put together some easy to cook vegetables, cut them, saute them with a touch of butter, add a little seasoning and served them with a spoon of mayonnaise. My vegetable choices are broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, radish, green peas. Mushrooms and sliced avocados are good choice too. You can add boiled eggs too. Just cut the hardboiled eggs and use them as garnish.

I will add a couple of greens to it as well (spinach is my favorite), but not without risking additional eye rolls from my kid.

As you may have noticed, there is no recipe here. Just the goal to make a meal a healthy and hot one.

Dinner will be better, I promise my kid.

How are you handling lunches while working from home? I am looking for ideas.

Our first week of home-quarantine

Now, I really know what quarantine feels like!

I have realized that I have been very lucky so far. Being in Toronto, I was never asked to not leave my home since march until now and so, even though I stayed away from people all the time, following the social distancing rulebook strictly, I was never stopped from stepping out of the house. I used to take a lot of long walks and lazy strolls in park all the summer, listening to my songs, staying busy with my thoughts while watching the spring flowers bloom and feeling the summer sun warmth on my skin and quarantine did not feel like a forced thing or an obligation for me, so far.

Now that flights have resumed operations, I am very glad that I finally get to live together with my family, my son and husband, who completed 3 plane rides from Hyderabad to join me here. I am happy that we are finally together. We reached home, unpacked our suitcases and settled in new time zones (for them) slowly. And so began our mandatory home quarantine last sunday.

Luckily, I have stocked our pantry with enough supplies for 14 days while my family were snoozing in their planes, somewhere over atlantic. The next thing to focus on is fresh air, home cooking and having quality time with each other, without leaving the door.

That is what we are trying manage smoothly now.

We have been cooking at least 3 times a day now. We have been reading a lot of books, storybooks for my kid and novels for me. I am lucky to be able to work from home, so my 9-5 routine is ongoing as usual.

Our evenings are being spent making meal plans, scooping the flour, spilling the salt, boiling water, stirring dough, checking the oven and waiting for the smells of fresh baked food. It is fun, it is engaging.

I am learning to be grateful for what we have already and who I have with me. More importantly, who I have with me, who love me and care for me and are ready to take up really long and potentially risky travel to come join me here. I am thankful for the opportunity to live together with my family again. And, friends and family are only a phone call away. Entertainment is only a browser click away.

Walks can wait. Thay have been on hold for now. I did feel claustrophobic a couple of times during the week from being not-a-home-body that I am but when I think of the bigger picture, the safety and protection of the community around me, this feels like a small price to pay.

I walk to my balcony, feel the breeze, breathe the air, watch the trees sway, squirrels play and come back in. One more week to go and I think we can live through this.

Sending loads of hope and faith your way, in case you need it.

Photo by Tatiana on Pexels.com

Happy Friday

Creating something for the sheer joy of it and nothing else. Have you been in touch with this feeling lately? I have been.

One lazy weekend with nothing much to do (quarantining alone..so) and nowhere to go (no explanation required here when you have a moderately stocked pantry), I sat down with itching fingers, pulled out a my blank canvas, laid down my supplies, wetted my brushes, catched and held my muse and got my hands dirty. I liked what I had in front of me 40 minutes later.

Creating art (or anything that you absolutely love, for that matter) may not pay your bills, especially when it is not your job but it gives you joy. It can be writing a little poem for your spouse or making that cocktail for your friends or sketching along with your kids, making video of your house plants or crafting for your own self. Art comes in many shapes and forms. But no matter what form you choose, it feels delightful. It creates moments of fun, gives you satisfaction, gets you that glint in your eyes and smile on your face. Even if you are not a master at your craft, do it anyway. Dabble in it.

Wishing you a weekend filled with loads of free time and tons of ideas to create the art you love. Happy Friday!

How I am sleeping better and finishing more books

I wish somebody told this to me earlier. So, I am telling this to you now, as soon as I noticed that it is working for me. I am sleeping better and I am finishing off more books too. I am calling this a double win. Want to know the full story? Read on.

Just like everyone else’s, pandemic affected my sleep cycle too. My nap times became erratic, irregular as I am quarantining alone and I have no pet around to be taken care of either, my self-discipline took a backseat and my morning routine jumped out of the window and ran away. I can just out of the bed 30 minutes before my office starts to freshen up and make my mug of coffee. why wake up early?

I wasn’t even changing out of my pyjamas and I used to rub my eyes occasionally throughout the day and on some bad days, I had sleep for less than 4 hours and my entire next day felt tiresome and groggy, and I reached a stage where more cups of coffee couldn’t rescue me any further. I want to blame it on netflix or late night book reading but even I after I put them down around 11 pm, my mind was too excited from the story or show that I was following and couldn’t sleep.

Luckily, few weeks back, I stumbled on audiobooks. My first book was ‘The Untethered Soul’ by Michael Alan Singer. The narrator’s voice was smooth and the content slowed down my thoughts and put me to sleep. The book was enlightening and relaxing at the same time and I have listened to it for brief intervals during day time like when I was cooking, walking or just taking breaks from work and I finished my book in 3 days. Next book was ‘Me and White Supremacy’ by Layla Saad. Again, I finished it in 3 days. And I am sleeping early and automatically, waking up early.

The audiobooks made me remember my childhood when my parents used to tell me bedtime stories, I used to listen to them with closed eyes, follow them for a while and drifting to sleep slowly. What a pleasant experience that used to be! Now I am grown up and all but why lose the privilege when you can have it.

I have resumed my morning walks and I am find time again to drink my coffee slowly before logging in to start my work.

I am not choosing genres like crime or thrillers for obvious reasons but I am adding more audiobooks to my list.

Have you tried audiobooks to sleep better? Are you a fan of them? What is your favourite one?

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

My little outing at restaurant

As much as long walks are sounding insanely tempting to me during pandemic, so much was eating out at a fine restaurant with a friend, while catching up on all the little, silly stories of life used to appeal me throughout my entire life before this. After months of confining myself my 90% of home cooked food and 10% of home delivered delicious food, I have decided to venture out to take out food at a new restaurant by myself and I asked a friend of mine to join me for an evening.

We have chosen Kandahar Kebabs, an Afghan restaurant in our neighbourhood to give a try after looking at the long waiting line outside and a couple of food delivery guys picking up their orders and leaving the restaurants with huge bags of food in hurry. I was assured that our meals are definitely going to be good. We stopped crossing our fingers about that and started watching the people around.

I love watching people. I have watched people around, in parks, on roads and with masked faces in the grocery stores but I missed the pleasures of leisurely watching the dressed up restaurant crowds. A couple of college boys in shorts and sneakers, a middle aged father trying to engage a kid while being busy browsing something on the phone, three teenage girls ready to order huge amount of food for a weekend party at a friend’s home, innocent little boy who wasn’t comfortable with the mask but couldn’t convince his mom otherwise. Waiting is bearable when you have people around, two feet apart, but around.

Once inside, I started noticing the chandeliers and the reflections of the light filling the space with comforting and uplifting charm, the walls with art, the alluring aroma of freshly being-cooked food and the welcoming digital menu on the monitors decked close to the roof. I missed the months I have been away from restaurants, the curated and carefully designed interior spaces that welcome people, give us a chance to pick the platter, order our course and the experiences of anticipating the taste when we know that the plate the waitress holding is definitely our dish, taking in the aroma, having that first bite, trying to decipher spices used, appraising the food, thanking the chef (without uttering a word aloud), sharing a laugh with friends, sipping the drink, picking the dessert while secretly counting the calories in the back of my mind. The nostalgia struck me hard.

We waited for our turn, grabbed our food, thanked the staff, reheated it at home, ate the meal in my drawing room, appreciated the taste a lot but I loved this little rendezvous. I am going to go again, with enough precautions and colourful mask on. The delivery guys can wait.

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

Here in July

This is the month that went by in a blink for me. If you ask me where were you? what were you doing? Are you brewing up any big project or life updates that you are planning to reveal on the right date? My answer is nope for all of them.

I didn’t realize until yesterday that I have not written a single word here. That is life. These are the seasons. There are days when I write a lot and there are weeks when I totally forgot about blogging and got busy with life. Do I have an agenda for today’s post? Yes, to say hi to you all and while I am here, I don’t want to ignore my blog anymore, I am happy to do a little roundup post on how my month was so far and how the blink thing happened.

  1. I have listened to a lot of music lately, including the latest album that Taylor Swift dropped one midnight, without much pomp.
  2. I have been reading a lot of books and I was leaving their reviews on netgalley frequently. I will make a post on my recent book reads soon.
  3. My day job has been keeping me extremely busy.
  4. I did manage to have a friday night dinner under star light with a couple of new friends. I would call that the best night in this month.
  5. I am eating a lot of fresh vegetables lately (I am proud of that) but I am skipping a lot of workouts lately (I regret this).
  6. I watched “Dil Bechara” movie (it is the bollywood version of “The fault in our stars”) and spent almost an entire weekend thinking about cancer, life and death. It was a heavy day for me.
  7. On another note, I find the music of Dil Bechara movie to be dope and I have been listening to it on loop ever since. Give it a try if you love bollywood music.
  8. I have mastered my cold coffee recipe and I am making it at least 4 times every week now. I also bought a cute mason jar with sipper to go with my coffee.
  9. I have made my first ever painting on canvas this month and I loved it. I am looking forward to paint more.
  10. I have been offering online drawing classes to young kids and that has been a wonderful experience. I am loving to the smile I get to see on their face at the end of the class. If you have a young kid in mind who wants to get their hands dirty, you must write to me!!
  11. I am meeting some wonderful new people on twitter and I am liking that platform. If you are active there, leave your handle details below and let us stay connected.

This is the little list of highlights from my short month and I am hoping that you had a great month too!

Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

This week in pictures

I am totally loving the light reflecting on my leaves every single evening. More love to this summer..

This has been such a relaxing game for keeping me engaged when I felt bored. Poof..10 minutes gone just like that trying to catch that word.

No words here..just the sky.

With the temperature rising gradually, I started going back and reaching out to my old friend, cold coffee. And a quick doodle while taking the sips slowly.

Walk in the park with friend. My friend is behind the camera and she wanted to try the effects and modes on her new iPhone. I was happy to oblige!

How was your week? Let me know in the comments below.

See you later!!

My books in June and their reviews

Well, well, well…what a great reading month it has been? I am happy, actually content with the past thirty day and I am actually looking forward to July, curious to get to know about all the people, ideas and stories in store , running along those pages which are about to be unfurled. Without further ado, let me get to this month’s list.

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney:

This is a book that I have recommended to many people. It is a refreshing story of two friends from school whose lives become intermingled with two adults and how the relations begin, develop and change throughout. The book is an absolute page turner with commendable narration and memorable conversations. I will give it a 4 star.

What I talk when I talk about Running by Haruki Murakami:

This book is a part memoir, part autobiography, part fitness guide and part deep dive into the life and thoughts of Haruki Murakami, one of my favorite authors and this is not a work of fiction. This is book is exactly what the title says it is. Murakami has been a runner for the most part of his life and this beautiful captures his story on why he picked up this hobby as fitness routine, how he became a marathoner, his training for each marathon and what goes in his mind while he was running, how it clears his mind, gives him ideas for his stories and helps him stay fit both physically and mentally so that he can write much better stories for us. Read this book if you want to know about Murakami, his life, his methods and what it takes to write a novel and another one and another one later, over many years and still continue to engage his readers. I will give this book a 3 star.

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman:

This book is such a pleasant read, proving once again that you can be broken but still be beautiful. I love reading stories with strong female leads and this book is one piece of art that opened my mind in many ways, made me think about the society, the standards it impose, the struggles when your life doesn’t fit in the imaginary boxes created by so called regular, social people. It may not be a beach read but it is definitely a good summer read. I will give this book a 3.5 star.

Hunger by Knut Hamsun

I never heard of this book until recently and the book name kind of spilled out in a random conversation with a colleague. The title is little known and for me, the writer is unknown until recently. It is one of the best offbeat books that I read recently and it is about hunger. It is not a happy book but it is definitely a book that will make a lasting impression on you if you can make it until the last page. This book is an in depth exploration of a common but less frequently acknowledged human feeling of hunger and how it can become your master and direct your life when you aren’t in a position to address it appropriately, not by choice but by circumstances and almost helpless situations. I give it a 4 star for changing my perspective forever on hunger and lives associated with it.

Smash It by Francine Simone

Smash It is a perfect summer read and one of my favorite young adult stories that I read recently. It is a cute and captivating story of friendship, love and intriguing school life of Olivia and her friends. This is a story of what happens when a young girl decides to change her life, starts making list of goals and keep crossing them one by one, makes new friends, gets closer to BFFs and maneuvers life while having a ball doing it. I give this book a 4 star and you must read it of you are looking for a fun summer read.

Here are some of my favourites from June and my list is not even half done. I guess I have to mke part II for this post to cover all the books I read in June. If you would like to see my complete list or read more reviews, leave your comment below and I will try to make another post to continue this ride.

Can’t wait to get my hands on my July reads!! Catch you later 🙂