July 30, 2014

All Organized for Baby!

I was ready to pull out my hair trying to figure out how to get all the baby stuff sorted out, and for it to be in a convenient place. Of course,  I also wanted to stay within our budget. I explored my options with many trips to all the big stores, and realized this wasn't going to be easy unless I had a plan.

I kept going, getting overwhelmed, and heading home- feeling defeated. There are so many choices out there!

Begin by setting up a registry, online or at your favorite baby store (s). This will help you know what you're going to be bringing home.

After the baby shower, I had a sense of what I had received, and what I needed, and how I was going to set it all up.

So, here is how to get started:

  1. The first step to getting organized for baby is designating a space/room/ or item specifically for baby. I decided this piece was going to be my changing table- see newborn survival tools 
  2. Next, decide what items you need front and center. These items will need to be the most accessible- diapers, creams, lotions, burping cloths, cotton balls, etc
  3. Then, I went to Target to find containers. I initially had found really cute boxes, but those weren't as practical. I decided on the dollar-a-box clear plastic boxes that they have for shoes
  4. I used each box as to divide up the items as I needed- bibs, socks, diapers, creams, and baby laundry, and cotton balls
  5. Designate a space for baby's clothes like a dresser drawer. We didn't have enough space to offer her a closet. So, I bought a small dresser for her to use for her clothes. 
  6. I like to wash baby's clothes prior to her wearing them. I washed newborn, and 0-3 month clothes, and set them up in the first drawer. These were ready to go a month before my due to date. 
  7. Section off clothes received that are not the size you are using in the gift bags received, or in baby's closet. One section for 1-3 month clothes, one for 3-6 months, etc
  8. Pre-pack a duffel bag or carry-on bag with baby clothes, a few diapers, breast feeding supplies or bottles to take to the hospital. This way you are not scrambling when the time comes. I created this 3 weeks ahead of my due date. 

Getting organized before baby arrives will help so much. We had all this set up so were able to hit the ground running when little miss arrived 2 weeks early. Before we left for the hospital, my husband put on the crib sheet. We grabbed our carry-on bag with baby clothes, and were on our way quickly as soon as my water broke. 

When we brought her home, all her stuff was ready to go making it so convenient to change and feed her. The stress of getting it done before hand was so worth it, since I had more baby time! I wasn't focused on anything but her since everything was set-up prior to her arrival!

July 22, 2014

Cherry-Pineapple Smoothie

I have a slight obsession with cherries these days. They are abundant this time of year, and so delicious! The tart and sweet combination just tickles my insides! Their complex flavor really adds to this smoothie recipe. My one-year old nodded her head in approval as she was slurping it up. Cherries are really healthy for the body too, so that's an added bonus. I like mine not as icey, so I just used frozen pineapple in place of ice.


1/3 cup of pitted bing cherries
1/4 cup of cut pineapple frozen or fresh
1/2 cup of orange juice (I freshly squeezed mine)
Ice as needed
Sweetener if desired


Pour into a blender. Give it a whirl, and voila! Delish to the max

July 18, 2014

Healthy Chicken Curry

There are an infinite number of ways to make this recipe. I know because anyone I ask has a recipe of their own. Of course, the traditional version involves grilling the chicken pieces first, and adding it to a masala. This is a little hard to do in an apartment thus the need for modifications.
This is a super easy recipe that is healthy and delicious! I can usually get it on the table with some rice in about 30 minutes!


1 lb of boneless chicken breast, cut into pieces
1 medium yellow onion
1 medium Roma tomato
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
2 tablespoons oil
Salt to taste

2 tablespoons greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon tandoori masala


Marinate chicken for 2 hours or longer prior to cooking. Mix roughly chopped tomato, and onion, and ginger-garlic paste into a blender with 1 cup of water. Blend until smooth. Heat oil in large pan. Before it gets too hot, add in the blended mixture. Cook this on medium heat until mixture no longer looks crisp. This can take 10-15 minutes. Add in chicken pieces with the marinade. No need to discard it. This will add flavor to the curry. Stir in all the spices into mixture shortly after the chicken. Cook mixture on medium-high until chicken is cooked through, and the desired thickness for curry has been achieved. Reduce heat and cover. Let dish simmer for about 5-10 minutes on low heat. Serve with rice, naan, or roti


July 14, 2014

Let's GO!

...And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair- Khalil Gibran

I have a slight case of cabin fever! I feel like being a SAHM lends itself to this, but still....

I want to sing at the top of my lungs! Frolic in fields, fiddle with flowers, climb to mountaintops!

Alas, I have a teething 1- year old, and braxton-hicks contractions holding me back from rugged mountain climbing, frolicking, and other outdoorsy activities.

Although, I'm sure little miss wouldn't mind. She's just gotta get a hang of the whole walking thing. Until then, I can vicariously vacation by looking at past trips. ... It's just as good right?


July 11, 2014

Book Review Fridays- Crucial Conversations- Tools for talking when stakes are high

Okay so this wasn't the best of self-help books, but it does what it says- it helps you navigate through "crucial conversations."  The writing style is easy to grasp, and reading seems more like an instruction manual rather than a smooth read.

Usually, I'm not too keen on these types of books, but I was handed this to read by my old boss. My boss! He had said this helped him in his career and home-life, and perhaps I could find the same benefit?

 I left it on my bookshelf for a very long time feeling this was a useless book. Maybe he thought, we weren't seeing eye to eye. I later found out, it was because he thought I could improve my communication skills.  Well Mr., It's not like a book can teach me how to converse correctly.

A year after when I finally left the job (we moved), I picked up this book again. I was looking for something to do while feeding my little one. I had already tapped out my collection at home, and this book was just staring me in the face. Begrudgingly, it began.

So, it can't teach you to talk right, but it can help you get in the right frame of mind for when you really need to get the words out. You can apply it to almost any situation in which you may find emotionally trying, doesn't have to be in a professional setting.

 Surprisingly, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I got through it pretty quickly. Skimming helped a lot because it was repetitive at times.

It provides structure, and guidance on staying cool in the moment, and choosing the right words to deliver our message.

I actually have applied some of the concepts such as what is discussed in chapters 3, and 6. Chapter  3 is about staying focused on what your intended goal from the conversation is. Chapter 6 is helping the other person in the conversation stay involved. This way you can really have a two way conversation. I cannot say what a huge help that has been. I now modify my words depending on the situation and person. I can honestly say it works. Not like magic though, you just have to keep the book as a frame of reference in mind.

Overall, my giving this read a chance turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

Score- 3.5 out 5

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here at Amazon.com

July 9, 2014

Potato and Lentil Khichdi

This is one of humblest dishes that I used to like when I was younger but for some reason stopped enjoying it when I left for college, and hadn't had it in a few years- probably because my mom wasn't cooking it for me anymore.  I was feeling a little under the weather the other day, and called my mom asking her what to eat. She said chicken noodle soup or khichdi. It was a 109 degrees outside, so soup didn't feel appropriate for the weather. I asked for a recipe and decided to try it out. I was delighted by the results. The combination of rice with lentils makes for a nice comforting meal.


1 cup of basmati rice
1/2 cup of yellow lentils
1 medium russet potato finely- diced
1 medium yellow onion diced
1/2 de-seeded jalapeno- finely diced
1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 and 1/2 cup of water
Salt to taste


In a medium saucepan, heat canola oil. Stir fry diced potatoes and onion in oil for 5 minutes. Add in lentils and jalapeno, quickly moving around pan to not allow sticking to the pan. Cook for a few minutes before adding rice. After two minutes, add water, spices, and salt. Allow the entire mixture to come to a boil. Allow the boiling to continue until rice is fluffy, and water is almost just above the surface of the rice. Cover with a lid, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is soft.


July 7, 2014

What do you plan to do with your life?

The other day my mom and I were out shopping. A family friend saw us, and we were flagged her down. After a brief update of each others lives, she turns to me asks: what have to you been up to? have you gone back to work? Raising kids? another one on the way? Boy, that was quick! ( as she chuckles) So, what are you planning to do in the future?

First of all, I'll take one question at a time. Second, I haven't given all these questions much deep thought to fire off answers on the spot, at the grocery store none the less.

So, in that brief moment, I self-reflected. I thought about she wanted to know. She essentially wants to know what I plan to do with the rest of my life.

I don't know myself, lady. I'm just taking it one day at a time. But, I had to have a response. So, I smiled and stammered out; I'm just taking some time off to raise my baby. I don't know the exact plans for the future yet.

This seemed to suffice her appetite for questions.

The encounter was over, but a glaring question that was posed was still weighing on my mind. What did I plan to do in the future? What did I plan to do with the rest of my life? I began to feel anxious because I honestly don't know!

Right now, I just plan on taking care of my daughter until she's ready for school. I want to pop out baby number two in October. At that time take care of two instead of one. So basically, I want to live in a familial setting for the next 2-3 years. I've got that covered.

But... then what?

Will someone still hire me 4 years after being out of the workforce?
Will I even want to work at that time?
Will I be ready to move the focus back to myself?
Will I be able to maintain a career?

This leads me to another question-  how long can you plan for with life? 2 years? 1 year? a month?

With so much unpredictability, it's hard to plan out more than a week in my opinion!

As these thoughts swirled in my mind, I felt like I was going to have a full blown anxiety attack. I felt nauseous because I don't like thinking about stuff like this.

I don't know if this is a normal reaction to such questions.

Maybe I just think too much

and care too much about other people think

but I needed something, stat!

I decided to eat cookies by the pound at Whole Foods to drown out the anxiety. Which, by the way, was an EXCELLENT idea, and soon all my worries were gone. I don't recommend this all the time, but once in a while I think food can be therapy.

you know what? I felt a little better. Cookies didn't solve my problems, but rather helped me put things into perspective. Live in the moment!

So, I may not have life's big questions answered but, I think that's okay.

 Let's just take it one day at a time.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

July 2, 2014

Masala Potatoes

I loved eating this dish growing up, and have since craved the comfort of it. It is so versatile as well, can be eaten alone, with rice, or with naan/roti. With a few tweaks to my mom's recipe, I have found a way to reduce the time without cutting on flavor.


2 russet potatoes- cut into quarters, or sliced
1 roma tomato- diced
1/2 yellow onion- diced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves
3 tablespoons coconut oil
Water (for preventing sticking, as needed)


Heat oil in a pan with a fitted lid on medium. Add onions and saute until onions are soft, and browning slightly, about 5 minutes. Add in tomatoes and all spices except fenugreek leaves. Saute until fragrant. Now, add in cut potatoes, saute some more. Adding a little water if the mixture is sticking to bottom of pan. Pan fry for 5 additional minutes until all is melded. Stir in the fenugreek leaves. Reduce heat to low. Cover pan with lid and let dish simmer for about 10 minutes. After this time, potatoes should be tender, but not mushy.