Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Body Talk

‘No thanks, aunty. I’m on a diet,’ said a sixteen-year-old family friend of mine, who seemed to be perfectly fit and healthy. ‘How do I calculate my body-mass index and at the age of fourteen, how much should I be ideally eating?’ a girl asks a dietician. Honestly, I have nothing against kids, teenagers wanting to know about their bodies but this obsession with dieting (crash dieting) and, frankly, being skinny, that’s gets to me. So today, it’s time for an honest – once-a-teen (that’s me) and a teenager (you) – chat.

Fit or Fat

Being overweight is not ideal. That’s the simple straight truth. But why? Appearances aside, you miss out on the pleasures of being fit. If your body is fit, there is so much you can do. Running up a flight of stairs won’t tire you, walking your dog will be a treat and not a punishment and most of all, your mind will be fit too –alert and attentive. The golden rule: eat what you want as long as you exercise. Be healthy, be fit for your own benefit, not for how you will look (though that is a strong and imperative incentive).

You Are Beautiful

One of my favourite songs is ‘The Sunscreen’. It has a line which goes like this: ‘Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.’

You know, you don’t have to be a size zero just because that’s what they show you on TV and because everyone says you should be and all the girls in your class seem to be. Don’t fall for this trap. These days, every girl seems to look the same, wears the same kind of clothes, carries the same cell phone and it goes on and on. Be yourself, be beautiful.

Food Is Good

It’s so good! I know someone who has been on a diet for so long, that she is perpetually irritable and not very pleasant to be around. For god’s sake, eat if you want to. If you think you don’t need to eat something, don’t, but be wise about it. Crash diets don’t work … hello, they’re called ‘crash’ diets. You can’t be hostile towards food, instead, be friendly with exercising.


You Are Not Your Body

Our self-image is so closely linked to our bodies. This is true in our teenage more than any other time of our lives. ‘You look great today,’ someone says to us and we are happy the rest of the day. And the day you over eat – god, how terrible you feel about yourself. It’s natural to feel these things but so very important to know that you are so much more than what you see in the mirror. Or what others see when they see you.

Your Body is Your Best Instrument

Ah, another great line from my favourite song: ‘Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.’
There is a reason why you are in this body of yours. Use it well. Give it a purpose, a direction. Your body is your instrument to help you realize your true potential, your greatness (and this is why you should be fit). You have a dream of, say, starting your own line of clothes and accessories. If you are unfit, you really can’t work beyond a few hours a day because your body gets tired and so does your mind. With an unhealthy body comes a lethargic mind.

Let me leave you with a promise that you must make to yourself:

I will be healthy, happy and wise.
I will not let anyone or anything make me believe I am ugly.
I will be the best version of myself.
I will use my body well, but not confuse myself with my body.

On that note, let’s eat!

Try this fantastic recipe for a scrumptious pineapple upside-down cake that's eggless. Yes, EGGLESS! I've tried it and it turned out fab. My mom's been asking me to bake this ever since. The delish caramel topping really lifts the cake and takes it to a whole knew level. I added some pineapple essence to give it more of an edge even though the recipe doesn't say so. Even added chunks of pineapple in the batter. I never thought I'd like a pineapple cake but ... Doesn't it look great?

*You can find my food articles and other general food gyan in this fortnightly magazine: Chinmaya Udghosh or CU. Like them here, and if possible, subscribe! Oh yeah, and find me on Facebook*

Saturday, 30 June 2012

iBaked, iAte, iCheated

:( With my head hanging in shame, I mournfully type this post. After nine days of success, yesterday I failed.

The story of my failure, I shall narrate in detail as promised.

The day had started off well, as I slept soundly till late, blissfully unaware of how despite of having built up a strangely comforting amount of will power over the last few days, life would play a cruel joke on me.

Location: Fiance's house
Occasion: Lunch

Need I say more? Yes, maybe one last detail is required. We are Punjabis.

Hona kya tha, doston. I had foreseen that this day would be a test, and I was up for it. I had prepared myself mentally, researched the best ways to decline offers -- polite, yet firm no's. I had even baked brownies and not tasted any, even though I kind of knew I was entering dangerous territory by carrying along dessert. I knew the dangers well beforehand -- 'chalo, jo brownies khud laye ho, woh toh khao!' -- and how suspicious it would seem if I didn't eat what I have baked and forced them to!

But the truth iiiis, I held my ground with those brownies too ... they were not what failed me. It went something like this:

We had finished lunch -- yum dal makhani, shahi paneer and naan -- and I knew the moment of truth was close. At first was unveiled a box of mithai or sweetmeat (yes, I want to believe I am catering to an international audience, hence the translation). It was offered. I revealed my first play: 'Nai, Mummy, abhi nai. Bohot khaa liya. Thodi der mein.' (No, Mom, not yet. Have eaten too much. Maybe in a while.) Luckily, my in-laws aren't too persistant, and so I was saved.

I thought I had dodged the bullet till a while later when little Mehar (my 3 year old niece), wanted to cut the brownies her new chachi had got and get everyone to taste. Luckily, once they were cut, Mehar enjoyed her piece too much to share it with me. God bless that little greedy child :) Just when I thought I got away, Bhabhi was upon me, 'it's really nice, have some!' Play number two: 'No, no, this is for you! I am glad you liked it...I am still too full.' Phew.

Friends, I thought I was in the clear by now. And I am sure you are wondering how could I have possibly cheated. But this is a Punjabi household. There's mithai, there's cake and there's ice cream always in the fridge. After another hour of chatting up. Mom-in-law entered with ouce cream and now I had no excuse. It had been an hour since lunch and I could not have said, 'too full'. And a third time is hard to decline, no? In-laws or no in laws? :P

But I still had hope. My beautiful fiance had not taken his bowl of ice cream and the plan was to sneakily hand over my bowl to him -- something we do often whenever I go to his house (prone to being overfed, what can I say). But that sneaky little munchkin of mine bailed on me! Can you believe it! Looked straight into my eyes and gave me a devious smile! Oh he knew what he was doing!

So that's it guys. Two tablespoons of ice cream were in. Just when I was evaluating reasons as to why I was marrying the betrayer, he took the rest from me and all was 'sweet' again.

The End

P.S.: yes, yes. Date's been extended. Now no meetha till 23 July. Bleh.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Challenge, accepted

Hello, y'all!
I've been really feeding my sweet tooth big time the past few days... (alright, maybe a week...or two) and I have been forced to make a decision by this nagging, annoying voice in my head (and maybe one in my house :P) to take charge. And what better way to do anything but by making it into a game!

So here's the deal: I attempt the IMPOSSIBLE.
THIRTY DAYS WITHOUT DESSERT. (I am having trouble even typing that straight. *gulp gulp*)

I have been having ice-cream cravings this summer, but we've got to beat it and find another way to beat the heat. Here are the rules to begin with:

1. Thirty days starting tomorrow morning (that's right, load up on all the munchies now :P) Hence the duration of the challenge is June 22nd to July 22nd.

2. No dessert means no sweet dish. However, sugar in beverages is allowed.

3. Fruit does not qualify as dessert, hence is allowed.

4. Each passing day will be blogged to record the effects of dessertless-ness.

5. Punishment for any deviation requires a full-scale confession on blog and encourages scolding-via-comment from readers.

6. Punishment also: for every deviation an additional 2 days will be added to the challenge.

7. To test the level will power and just generally for some fun, I will be required to bake a dessert once every week WITHOUT TASTING. I am allowed to have a taster though. (This ones going to be really tough).

So these are the rules for now. I hope you can join me in my quest, encourage me and suggest better punishments in case I deviate. The ones I have seem kinda boring! Need some entertainment, babay!

See you, playas!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

What Kind Of Cake Are You?

Yo Yo Honey Singhs! What be ups, my homies?

All right, that’s enough gangsta for a decade. You may think I have long forgotten you and my oven but you couldn’t be further away from the truth, my sweet toothed fraands. I have been at it, day and night, bringing cake to those who need it most.

The past few weeks have got me thinking about life and all the little things that go into the making of one. There is the essential person who is alive that is required to make life, the flour to the cake, we can call him. And then there are all the other ingredients…some are essential, like sugar in the cake and some are the silent catalysts, imperative but too much would make life just bitter. I am talking about baking powder, guys. And in life, baking powder are the toughies that make life difficult. Only a pinch is enough to bring out the best in you. So next time something bad happens, think of it like baking powder, a little is essential for your cake of life to be beautiful and fluffy – too much can make you hard and bitter, I agree. Makes you think, what kind of cake are you?

My family is the butter of my life’s cake. They spoil me, indulge me, in way only family can. My cake (err…life) would be low cal and boring without them…kind of like a blob of dry baked flour.

And who’s the flour? Aah…don’t flatter yourselves, fellow readers, none of you are the core ingredient of my life cake. The flour is I (wow, there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say).

I are the flour to my cake, it is MY life after all, isn’t it? The right amount of me in my life can make it delish or lumpy and dry. It’s my job to hold all these ingredients together, because without them, I am just plain old flour. Meaningless and white.

So that’s my gyaan for this post, folks! Count your blessings. Everyone plays a role in the cake that is your life. Think about who is that pinch of cinnamon or that cupful of cocoa in your cake and remember time and again that all are required to bring out the yumminess that is your true nature. And yeah, believe in your flour self! FLOUR POWER, AHA!  

Meanwhile, here's an update in pics of what I've been upto!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Baking From Happiness

So I am sick. Like really unwell. High fever, rash and all. Ugh. It's the worst feeling. I mean I've been sick plenty and really enjoyed it mostly, what with all the pampering and sympathy, the best part being that I skipped many a final exam in school but this is totally different. To start off, I fell sick on my birthday (that too has happened before...twice). I snapped at all my friends after inviting them to dine with me at a fancy place. I wore my favourite top but was too cold to take the jacket off even once. I hardly ate anything. I somehow made it home and worst of all, I left for a wedding in Jaipur the next day only to return day after, half dead with an ugly, ugly rash all over my body. And all this over a weekend.

Today I decided enough was enough. I had no fever all day yesterday and enough energy in me to do something...and no office. This meant it was a perfect time to bake. That's when I saw the silver lining. It's one thing to bake for happiness, but quite another to bake from happiness. The fruit of the latter's always sweeter and yummier.

It was easy to decide what to bake. It had to be mom's favourite. Her favourite dessert of all time: chocolate eclair. Moms are the best. When you're unwell and disoriented and weak and helpless and you just call out your mom's name, for no purpose as such, I've seen it really gives some sort of a boost, some invisible strength accompanied with a comforting, world's best hug. So, this one's for my momma. Nay, for all our mommas.

You can find the recipe for this here. And thank my Maamu for giving it to me and it reaching you thus.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Pizza Pockets

Isn't it the best feeling when you discover something pleasant? And yummy? I love it when such accidents happen on weekdays. It just lifts up your day and gives you strength to carry on (very filmy, but true). So I came home from work to find my mum missing and decided that for a change I'll give her an evening snack when she returns. (My mum cutely has a snack prepared everyday when I come back from work...what can I say, she thinks I do a lot of work involving manual labour).

So I washed my face and hands (look how clean I am), tied my hair in a ponytail (hair strands in one's food can possibly ruin a surprise...unless you can sell it to your customer or 'surprisee' as flavouring or something), and preheat the oven. I started making the dough for my quiche when I had an epiphany. And Pizza Pockets were born.

Like cute little samosa bags, I filled the dough up with some yummy tomato pasta sauce (store bought, tasted great) lotsa veggies (whatever I could find: mushrooms, broccoli, carrots), sprinkled some italian seasoning and garlic powder, pulled the dough together and covered the gaps on top with the help of little dough flaps and put them in the oven. Oh, and instead of a pie tin, I used, wait for it, cupcake moulds!

Oh, and I mixed some rosemary and sage into the dough while rolling it out...added to the great flavour.

I patted myself and put these babies into the oven and set it for 15 mins. However, two minutes later I took them out to add cut up olives on top, because anyone who knows me knows I love olives. Back in the oven, I waited with bated breath.

The wait was worth it and the result was delicious. In fact they looked so pretty and smelled so good, mum and I couldn't wait to dive in. Result: Burnt tongue.

I think they make for great snacks and mini-meals for kids. I deliberately didn't use cream coz I wanted to keep it low fat. It had maida and some cheese so not that low-fat after all... But I bet it'll taste even better with more cheese and some mayonnaise. I shall experiment on friends who can afford to put on a couple of kgs :) How I hate you and love you at the same time, you jackasses.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Dil Dil Dil

It's heart season. Time to bleed red (duh) and wear your heart on your sleeve. Order some dil-shaped stuff to bring a smile to your special someone's (in some cases someonessss) pretty, round face. I'll shut up and let the pictures tell this tale of lowe.