Sunday, 19 December 2010

Simple and Quick GS

Spinach Orange Banana smoothie

1 blender full baby spinach
2 tangerine oranges peeled and seeds removed
1/2 a banana
blend and drink!

Looks green, but tastes good.
I freeze my ripe bananas, so the drink does not get too warm.

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If a blogger blogs in blogistan and no one reads it, did they still blog?
If a blogger blogs in blogistan and no one comments on it, was it never read?

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Sunday, 3 October 2010

Vegan Lasagna without Tofu

(Modified from

Uncooked whole wheat lasgna
nutritional yeast
vegan parmesan (optional)

The Sauce:
28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
12 small vine ripened tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp dried basil (or more if you like the smell)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 or 2 teaspoons chili powder
around 1 Tbsp of pepper corns ground up
salt to taste

The "cheese"
1.5 cup of cashew nuts soaked
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 Tbsp pepper corns
salt to taste
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dry rosemary, crushed

The veggies
1 head of broccoli cut into bite size florets and blanched in a little boiling water
1 red pepper cut into strips
8 cups fresh spinach (loosely packed), cut into strips

The Algorithm:

To make the sauce, heat some oil and add the garlic and saute until translucent
Add the vine ripened tomatoes chopped
Add the can of diced tomatoes
Add everything else under "sauce".
Let it boil for a bit
Remove from stove

For the cheese, grind everything under "cheese" with very little water, so that the ground up paste has a slightly gritty texture. Rinse the blender with very little water and reserve the rinse water.

Pre-heat the oven to 400F
Pour enough tomato sauce to "line" the 9"x13"pan
Place 3 strips of lasagna on the pan with some space between them.
Place half of the spinach, red pepper and broccoli evenly on the three lasagna strips
Layer some "cheese" over the veggie layer.
Sprinkle some vegan Parmesan (optional)
Sprinkle some nutritional yeast
Pour some sauce over the three strips
Layer another strip of lasagna
Add the veggies and "cheese" over the second layer of lasagna
Top with sauce again
Add the final third layer of pasta
Pour the remainder sauce over the final layer of pasta
Sprinkle some nutritional yeast and veggie parmesan
Add the rinse water into the pan, pouring some over the lasagna layers and some around it.

Cover with foil, bake for 30 minutes
Remove cover and bake for 30 more minutes

Remove from oven. Serve hot.
Freezes well too.

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Saturday, 18 September 2010

Almond Cashew Fourless Cookies

(This recipe is inspired by one that I use for PB flourless cookies with some modifications: My version of PBFL cookies also included shredded coconut and chocolate chips and no eggs.)

1 cup almonds
1 cup cashew
brown sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1 or 2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil

Grind up almonds and cashews with olive oil in the Vita Mix until it becomes butter.
Remove almond-cashew butter from the blender and add equal amount (by volume) brown sugar.
Add vanilla extract, salt, softened butter and mix by hand to make it a smooth batter.

Roll up balls of "batter" and place it on cookie sheet lined with aluminium foil.
Preheat oven to 350.
Bake for 12-15 mins or until lightly browned.

Wait until the cookies cool down before trying to take them out of the sheet, otherwise they may crumble!

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Saturday, 14 August 2010

Apple-Blueberry-Spinach Green Smoothie

I wanted a good smoothie this morning. Since I read that ginger could help in reducing post-work out soreness, I decided to incorporate it into the smoothie. Wanted something different than my usual, so decided that blueberries will go in first since I had a lot of fresh blue berries in the fridge. Realized that I had to use up my spinach soon since it was already nearing wilt-shire! Read somewhere that cinnamon was good at regulating blood sugar levels. But then, cinnamon is paired with apples and thus was born today's green smoothie. Blend the following!

2 handfuls blueberries

1/2 a pink lady apple

1 Tblsp golden flax seed

1/2 inch piece of ginger

1 handful spinach

1/2 a cup water

1 tsp cinnamon

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Saturday, 31 July 2010

Reminiscence of a Lost Past

(This post was started at least three years ago!)

The house I used to visit almost every summer when I was a kid was sold recently. It was my mother's parental home, which in her own words was "a hundred years old, the same age as your grandfather would be, if he were alive today". The house was truly remarkable in many ways. It held its own against the rapidly changing world all around it, complete with a venneer ull (literally: hot water room) where the bath water was heated in a wood burning boiler. The lavatory was not attached and had no plumbing even when I used to visit in the 70s and 80s. The lavatory had no ceiling and early in the morning you could look up and watch the birds sitting on the tree branches directly overhead. Occasionally a peacock would perch himself in all his colourful glory on the far wall of the lavatory and listen to the early risers on the streets beyond the back wall. And at night, it was the ideal playground for a school girl's active imagination. The walk from the home to the lavatory passing by the cow-shed  and the bales of hay that stood taller than a man with only a tiny torch light in hand was enough to make a Steven King out of even the most Dudley-esque kid. I am still amazed that I did not write horror stories instead of poetry during that period!

It had its own two-storey high granary built into the house! At least, that's what I was told it was. It had a single window on the first floor, through which, presumably, the grain was dumped in. For someone whose brain was filled with Dickens and Bronte and Eliot, that room had a sinister ring to it. The ideal hiding spot for mysterious wives with undiagnosed mental ailments or consumption ridden abductee kids! The first floor also housed a room of books into which you entered via another room of books! This was not a mere library with books stacked in shelves along the walls. No, no, this was truly a room of books. A room with floor to ceiling book-walls. This was a room with pillars of books rising right out of the floor like stalagmites in some untrodden cave. The only decor the room sported were the millions of spider webs that criss-crossed from book-pillar to book-pillar. No furniture. No drapes. Just books and walls. And, of course, industrious spiders. I had no trouble at all visualizing Ms Havisham's Satis House while enclosed within the walls of these two rooms. In other words, it was my paradise!

The stories contained in those books alone would have been enough to tide Shehrzad over for several nights beyond what she needed. Add to that the stories that, I am sure, the rooms themselves bore witness to and that should make it any story lover's heaven. Stories of countless children and cousins and grand-children. Perhaps the first book-pillar was born when one school kid threw his or her English text book into the room, on the floor, in a hurry to get out to play? Who knows? One can only imagine. It was my paradise, my escape from everything around me. Each summer that I visited, I spent several hours closeted in those two rooms, completely oblivious to the voices calling me to lunch, tea, dinner... And when some completely frustrated adult climbed up those stairs to haul me bodily out of that room for yet another meal, I would always imagine that granary to be the site of the latest horrors that I had read about. Surely, that was where Edmond Dant├Ęs spent his years before he metamorphosed into the Count of Monte Cristo?

Once back on the ground floor of the home, it would take me a few hours to stop speaking in 19th century English and get back to terms with reality. This return to reality was always aided by watching the konar (milk man) milk the cows or my grandfather feeding the cows. My grandfather loved his cows. You could see it in the tenderness with which he tended to them. I had heard stories of him swimming through storm waters, through the raging Cauvery to save his cows, only to be bed-ridden for months after. He loved his grand-kids and always made sure that there were mangoes in the house when we visited him. Large, Nawab mangoes. To die for!

And then there was the old well with the pump that my grandfather built. A pump he was reluctant to give up even when it was wheezing its final days out. A pump he insisted on repairing even with his failing eye sight. Even when he had to describe to someone the nuts and bolts he needed so that they could fish it out of his tool chest for him. A pump over which I bonded with my grand-dad and talked about our mutual love of English literature and our under-grad education in Physics.  Perhaps my last memories of my grand-dad was of him hunched over the pump mechanism in the failing evening light.
Adieu, house of my child-hood imaginations! Or may be I should just say: bye,  house of my childhood dreams. Trichy will never be the same for me without you.

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Friday, 30 July 2010

The Moonsoon took a break!

Perhaps it was not a good idea to name the blog "Monsoon Rains". True to type the Monsoon took a 3-year hiatus! Let's hope the drizzle turns to a steady downpour!