Diwali Preparations

Posted by on Oct 24, 2011 in All Posts, Indian Adventures, Story Corner | 4 comments

Diwali Preparations

The streets of Bombay are buzzing with preparations for the Diwali festivities.  Diwali, or the “festival of lights” is a five day celebration, with the third day as the official date of Diwali, coming up this Wednesday (Oct. 26, 2011). Shops are packed with shoppers and filled with piles of tiny candles, colorful lanterns, bags of decorative powders and endless amounts of streamers and twinkling lights.  I can’t help but think of Christmas when I see all the lights hung over shops and doorways. in many ways Diwali is much like Christmas.  It’s the biggest holiday of the year, everyone throws parties and goes shopping for shiny new outfits to be worn on Diwali and gifts are

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A Visit To The Doctor Can Be This Simple

Posted by on Oct 22, 2011 in All Posts, Indian Adventures, Story Corner | 5 comments

A Visit To The Doctor Can Be This Simple

Hubby and I must have caught a cold on the flight to India, as we were both coughing nonstop with stuffed up noses and a bit of a fever.  We headed to see the family doctor who has been overseeing the family’s health for more than twenty years.  It’s quite a long commute to see this doctor.  You have to walk all the way down the stairs and walk down the side of the building two entire doors in order to reach the doctor’s office.  That’s right, the doctor’s office is located in the same building on the first floor.  If that wasn’t easy enough, there is no need to call and make an appointment.  Unlike calling the doctor’s office in America, where if I ever fall sick, or am struck with some overwhelming injury, I am told “the soonest

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A Morning Trip To The Temple

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 in All Posts, Indian Adventures, Story Corner | 0 comments

A Morning Trip To The Temple

This last week has been all about adjusting.   Waking up early in the morning, trying to get over jet lag and adjusting to the slower pace of life here in Bombay.  It may seem strange to say the pace of life in a city of 21 million is slow, but life seems to slow down when you are removed from the daily distractions back home.  My days are filled with waking up at 7 AM, enjoying a hot cup of chai with a few tea cookies, or biscuits as they are called here.  Then a morning trip to the temple with Mummy-ji around 7:30 AM. Back home for another cup of chai and a plate of aloo parathas for breakfast. Then my day is spent reading a book, studying up on some more Punjabi or lounging under the fan.

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Our Bombay Home

Posted by on Oct 14, 2011 in All Posts, Indian Adventures, Story Corner | 8 comments

Our Bombay Home

I figured some of you might like to see where we are staying for the next few weeks.  Hubby’s family lives on the fourth floor of a large multiple building apartment complex called “Takshila”.  Their apartment looks down onto the busy street below.  On a hot day the whole family lounges in the master bedroom, where you can open the window for the best cross-breeze and hear the never-ending high-pitched honking of the taxis and tiny rickshaws on the street below.

I call the honking the “music” of Bombay.  If I ever wake up in the middle of the night from jet-lag, I can usually judge what time it is

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Traveling to India

Posted by on Oct 8, 2011 in All Posts, Indian Adventures, Story Corner | 6 comments

Traveling to India

Our month-long adventure in India begins with traveling a marathon of 24-hours.  The flight itself is 22-hours including a three hour layover in Dubai Airport. Add in an hour commute to the airport and arriving 90 minutes early to get our bags checked in and the whole experience takes about a full day.  Fortunately the flight itself is a fun experience. We now fly Emirates Airlines, recommended by frequent India travelers as one of the best airlines to fly with.  The cabin is luxurious, with televisions at every seat and a significant amount of room to lower the back of the chair.  The food is freshly made and flavorful. They even serve you chocolates and about any type of drink you could want.  Hubby and I indulged in a few sweets and we each had our fair share of mango juice.

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We are off to India!

Posted by on Oct 4, 2011 in All Posts, Story Corner | 1 comment

We are off to India!

It has been confirmed that Hubby and I will be going to India for Diwali this year!! We’ll be leaving on Wednesday for a month-long stay, till the beginning of November.  I’ll be in Bombay the whole time with Hubby’s family while he spends good part of this trip working from his company’s office based in south India. Ever since my first trip to India I’ve always wanted to experience being in India during the Diwali festival.  So this is a very special trip for me and I’m thrilled to share it with all of you.

While I spend two weeks on my own in Bombay I’ll be mostly in the kitchen with Mummy-ji where not a word of English will be spoken.  When neither of us can understand each other we just dissolve into laughter or resort to

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The San Francisco Chocolate Festival

Posted by on Sep 11, 2011 in All Posts, Explore California, Story Corner | 8 comments

The San Francisco Chocolate Festival

 On Saturday, Hubby, our close friend Kira and I drove up to the San Francisco Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival to savor the latest in local artisanal chocolates.  While blanketed in typical San Francisco fog we met friendly festival workers and fellow chocoholics, we even ran into a couple of familiar faces. By the end of the day we had all slipped into a sugar coma after fifteen samples each of every type of chocolate concoction one could think of.  We steered clear of the chocolatini (a mix of chocolate liquor and vodka) and the chocolate coconut milk, but we indulged in pretty much everything else. 

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Visiting Punjab

Posted by on Sep 9, 2011 in All Posts, Indian Adventures, Story Corner | 11 comments

Visiting Punjab

On my first trip to India, Hubby and I traveled to Punjab, a small state in northern India where his mother and father grew up and where the majority of Hubby’s family still lives in a small rural village in the district of Ropar. Ropar is a farming community and during my time there I got to tour the family farm which included eight buffaloes (used mainly for their milk), endless green fields of winter vegetables and more colorful peacocks than I had ever seen in my life.

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The Art of Haggling…a guest post by Hubby

Posted by on Sep 6, 2011 in All Posts, Story Corner | 2 comments

The Art of Haggling…a guest post by Hubby

This weekend Hubby and I took part in the ultimate American Labor Day pastime…we went mattress shopping.  A few months ago we decided to finally fill our empty guest room with a guest bed.  We have been to over 5 mattress stores and have done endless research of our own online so that we could make an intelligent purchase.  Guess what?!  Mattress shopping is about as confusing as it gets!  Buying our first home was easier!  But in the end we succeeded and got a fantastic deal due to Hubby’s and my team effort of haggling.   I never would have known about the art of haggling had I not learned it from Hubby and his family.  We have come to realize that most people think Haggling is only meant for flea markets and street stalls in Mexico.  Indeed, most of the world haggles and I know on our trips to India there are hardly ever any set prices because haggling is expected.

Realizing the need for some basic instruction in haggling, Hubby has written his first guest post for your own haggling education. 

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Add a pinch of Love

Posted by on Aug 30, 2011 in All Posts, Story Corner, Tips & Tricks | 3 comments

Add a pinch of Love

Ever since I began teaching myself to cook Indian food I’ve always measured myself against my favorite restaurants in the area.  But the one measurement I hold myself in comparison to has always been and always will be Hubby’s mother, “Mummy-ji“.

Mummy-ji’s cooking has always been what I strive for.  I have only been to Hubby’s family home twice now and both times I have been amazed at Mummy-ji’s ability to make the most humble and simple dish taste full, complex and completely satisfying.  That ability to make a simple dish taste amazing is the mark of a great cook.

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San Francisco – A walking tour

Posted by on Aug 1, 2011 in All Posts, Explore California, Story Corner | 0 comments

San Francisco – A walking tour

Living in the bay area of California, Hubby and I are surrounded with the best of what California has to over.  We are only a few hours drive from Lake Tahoe.  We are surrounded by some of the best restaurants and sources of “foodie” heaven.  We get to spend almost every weekend by the warm and sunny beaches in beautiful Santa Cruz, and we are only a 40 minute drive from San Francisco, one of the most unique cities in the US.

I have always had a fascination with San Francisco.  I love it’s rolling hills and picturesque views.  I love the cable cars and the colorful row houses.  I have also, unfortunately, been completely intimidated to explore San Francisco on my own.  It seems big and unknown and I have a fear of getting lost.  So I was thrilled when Hubby and I spent most of our Saturday this last weekend exploring San Francisco with our friend Nolwenn who has lived in the city for a few years and knows her way around.  

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Cooking with Family

Posted by on Jul 11, 2011 in All Posts, Story Corner | 8 comments

Cooking with Family

My uncle Terry was always the cook in the family to admire.  He is the true “foodie” in the family, who’s food is always exquisite and inventive.  His son (my cousin) Teague has also taken on a passion for food and turned it into his profession, opening up a restaurant in San Francisco called Sons & Daughters which is flourishing and having great success!

So when I called up Terry last Thursday and said it might be fun to cook together, it felt like I was finally cooking with a pro.  Joining someone in an activity they are completely passionate about is such a rush and our day of cooking easily elongated into swapping tips & techniques and sharing food stories.

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July 4th long weekend

Posted by on Jul 5, 2011 in All Posts, Explore California, Story Corner | 4 comments

July 4th long weekend

I love our weekend getaways to my Dad’s house in Aptos (10 minutes south of Santa Cruz).  It’s almost like having a weekend house.  We’ll pack up food for the weekend or just take things to cook down there and drive the 45 minutes over the hill to a whole other world where the air is cooler with beach breezes and all my favorite TV shows are recorded and ready for watching!

This long weekend was action packed with a big birthday party for all the July birthdays in our family.  We have four birthdays in July; mine and my twin sister’s, my older sister’s and my Dad’s. This year we decided to celebrate them all together with

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Food on Film: Woman on Top

Posted by on Jun 23, 2011 in All Posts, Story Corner | 0 comments

Food on Film: Woman on Top

I love movies about food.  This week I watched Woman on Top, a romantic “feel good” film about a Brazilian chef who leaves her neglecting husband to live with her friend in San Francisco and start a new life.  She soon finds herself hosting her own TV cooking show called “Passion Food Live”, all the while dealing with a love triangle…..that’s all, I won’t give anymore away.

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Sarees and Suits I wish I could have

Posted by on May 5, 2011 in All Posts, Story Corner | 6 comments

Sarees and Suits I wish I could have

Today I was watching one of my favorite hindi filmes, Baghban, which is a big colorful film about an older married couple’s enduring love even through all the trials and tribulations they go through due to their ungrateful kids.  Such a happy story.  Well, not really.  But they sure do have some beautiful clothing!

This got me wishing I had some new suits to wear.

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