Thursday, November 22, 2012

Still thankful...

This is my third Thanksgiving here and I have not yet reached the 'roast/bake turkey for Thanksgiving' stage. Lord knows, how the events will play out on that fateful day. Anyhoo it's a beautiful day today. Cool, sunny, a little breezy not windy and green. Looks like the maintenance people from our apartment complex did a wonderful job raking off the fallen leaves!



So I'm just going to go ahead and say/give thanks.


I am thankful for...

... the picturesque day today.
... the most understanding, funny, loving man in my life, R. If it was not for him..I would have broken down in        various testing times in my life.
... Autumn.
... the existence of Vonage and Skype. How else would I be able to talk to my dad and mom for hours everyday!
... good music. It has almost always managed to brighten a bland day stuck in kitchen.
...the wonderful books I have stacked on my bookshelf, some of them untouched. Waiting patiently for me to pick them.
... Kindle. I'm in love with that device.
... the long pointless conversations I have with S via Gmail/Facebook. Conversations ranging from men to recipes. Clothes to feelings. Knives to life altering decisions. We both deserve awards for tolerating each other!
... the food blogs. Without which I wouldn't exist.. well nor would R :|
... losing around 10 pounds even after hogging away. :O
... Netflix & Amazon. One which gives me free access to almost every TV show/movie and the other to which I turn to when I need to research on something. Be it a book or .. its mostly books!
... Blogosphere, the wonderful blogs and the oh so creative, thoughtful people here. Its like a wonderland here.
... the distance between my homeland and my home. Don't get me wrong. I do miss my place. However, distance makes it sweeter. You don't take things for granted. That's one thing which I don't want to do.
... making me strong enough  to realize, for some people- its tough love. We need to fight for what we want most. Sometimes you don't get it  wrapped with a ribbon on it. I just flicked Rihanna's lyrics and I am too passive to change it. :||
... the opportunities and failures.
... the good life.


P.S - This is my 100th post. Yeayy!!! :e




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fall fog

This is how today morning looked. It was so foggy that we couldn't even see the lake outside our apartment. Yes, I was bragging there :P

It's Thanksgiving tomorrow. It's like a mini vacation. 4 days of bliss!! November is almost over, and it's not all that cold. We keep waiting for it the temperatures to go below zero and stay there. It does, and then jumps right back to the cool temperatures. So,I guess we still have time before we bury ourselves in layers of clothes, jackets and boots. I have no complaints though.

Those spots are ducks near the tree!

 There was a lotta talk about this winter is going to be really cold, since last winter was kinda lame. Almost no snow and the temperatures were more than tolerable. It's all mixed reviews now. Normally by the end of November, we would have a steady below zero or just above zero temperatures. That day is yet to come.
Can you see the cars?
Lately I have a serious case of complex procrastination-motivation disorder. I have half baked goods in my draft. I have plenty of stuff to do and all I did till now, was watch the fog, take pictures and watch the fog lift off slowly but steadily till there was nothing left and everything was clear again. So till my fog lifts off I am seriously considering a hiatus.
Let peace be with you!




Saturday, November 10, 2012

Somebody's ONE today

Today is a very special day for me.
****Drumroll please****

Absolutely Not Sure! turns 1 today!!


Yes, my dear people, it's been a year since I started this blog. I remember the day when I was bored out of my wits and decided to start a new blog.  To explain, I have to tell you that I had another blog for 2 years before ANS! Due to unforeseen reasons, it decided to just shut down. I couldn't login to the old blog. I took that as a sign to move forward and start a new page in my life, especially since my old blog had a dominant emo mode to it. That's when I decided NO more serious, sad, drama, mind screwing, over analyzing stuff  :| Its just going to be happy, goofy, silly, mediocre stuff . I was initially torn between WordPress and Blogger. I chose the latter since I seem to have some sort of affinity towards it. I have no regrets whatsoever!
When I started off, I didn't expect anybody to read or for that matter follow my blog. It's quite heart warming to see people/readers who are actually interested in my blog!!. I'm ever so thankful to all of you. My awesome readers, the lovely people who stumble upon my blog, R dahlin & my bestie S.


THANKYOU for taking your time to read my posts and even better, leaving comments. Comments are like dopamine to me :D I have made some awesome friends in blogosphere. Friends who inspire, who motivate, & who are just pure fun to be around. Yes, I mean each and every one of you. :)
When I started reviewing books which I read, it was just a tab of what I read and what I felt about the book at that time. I NEVER expected anybody to notice it either. When authors and publishers started contacting me asking whether I'm interested in reviewing their books, I was am truly humbled. I still have a long way to go. Yet, I am a happy person today.

During this delightful voyage, I learnt that there is no point over-analyzing stuff , instead just do it already. Why ponder over trivial things? It sure was a huge step for me to start a Twitter account and even bigger step to start a Facebook page especially since I wonder what people would think about me. Then, I thought - Chill Woman :||
 Once again- Thankyou everybody and hopefully there will be many more blogoversaries to celebrate!

So.. what are you all waiting for? Grab your party hats and hit it Gangnam style :O :party




Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sore throat? Have soup.

What do you do when you have a cold/sore throat? Have some medication and stay away from cold stuff and rest, raight?! However, when my R dearest had a bad case of sore throat and congested chest and nose, taking medicines went right outside the window. According to him, since the clod is viral - no medicines. Yea, that's what a scientist can do to you. They have their own set of weird  rules :|
What followed was days of kanji aka rice porridge. How I hate bland stuff like that. :/
Since the big guy started sounding like a frog, I had to find some way out. That's when I decided to spice things up by making a soup. I have never made soup before. All I have managed to make are the Knorr versions or the canned soups.
So chicken noodle soup it is, I thought.How hard can it be, you know..just throw in all the stuff in water and let it boil away.

Ingredients:

Onion - 1 small chopped
Chicken breasts- 2 cups shredded/cut into small bite size pieces
Ginger - around 1-2 inches
Garlic- 3-4 cloves
Green peas-1/2 -1 cup
Carrot -  1 sliced
Sweet corn - 1/2 - 1 cup
Ground pepper - As per your taste
Salt - To taste
Pasta/spaghetti or good old maggi/ramen noodles
Chicken bouillon cube- 1
Water




Method:

It cannot get any simpler than this.Cut the chicken into small pieces, pour little water and add a little salt and let it  pressure cook for maximum of 2 whistles. If you are using already cooked chicken,well and good. I didn't have any.Keep that aside.
Take a saucepan boil 2 cups of water and let it boil. Once the water starts boiling add the chicken bouillon and let it dissolve (you can also use chicken stock/broth). Once that's done. Add onion,ginger,garlic, and the veggies. Let them all boil. At this point check the salt,if required add more according to your taste. Add ground pepper as per your hotness preference. I kinda added a bunch of it. I wanted it sooper spicy so that the cold and congestion would evaporate off!
Now, add the cooked chicken. Stir it all up. After around 5 minutes add the noodles and let it cook. I let it simmer for around an hour.  Serve with a hot croissant or fried bread crumbs!


The croaking big boy now sounds more or less like a nightingale now 8)

Photos clicked by: Me



Monday, November 5, 2012

When the craving strikes!

Today afternoon, I was craving for some Chilli Parotta. I'm not sure whether that's the correct usage. Some say Chilli Parotta, some say Chilli Paratha. You know, like Tomaato - Tomaeto. We, mallus say parotta though. The last time I made tried making it, it turned out to be a colossal fiasco :||
For those of you.. who don't know what a chilli parotta/paratha is.. shame on you! No, but seriously it is supposed to be this vegetarian dish (some people do use eggs- I don't see what role the eggs play :o ) quite famous in Kerala- the lovely place where I am from. I am not quite sure how famous it is, outside Kerala. I still remember how I used to bug my brother to get us both chilli parotta/paratha from a neighboring restaurant. How we used to enjoy the piping hot goodness in a disposable container! Sigh!! Those were the good times :(
Anyhoo, like I said I was in the craving mood and I had to get me some chilliparotta/paratha. So the research for an authentic recipe began. My head spun to see so many variations for such a simple dish. I ended up tossing almost any ingredient I felt like using and guess what, it did come out almost similar to the one me and my brother used to enjoy!
 I have been thinking of sharing my recipes here, however the fact that I have zero photographic skills is like a thorn in a lion's paw :|| I won't say I am a great cook but I have come a long long way from a girl who thought boiling Maggi was cooking. Yeas I am was a lost cause!    

Then ,I decided-good photos or bad photos I'm going to share my recipe here. Here goes --

Ingredients:

Parotta/Paratha(fresh or frozen) 2-4
Onion- 1 finely chopped
Green chilli - 2 finely chopped
Garlic-3-4 cloves thinly sliced
Soy sauce- 1 teaspoon
Chilli sauce- 1 teaspoon
Tomato ketchup- 1 tablespoon
Chilli powder -1teaspoon
Garam masala -1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil to saute

For Batter:

Maida - 1 cup
Chilli Powder- 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste



Method: 

Prepare the batter using the ingredients given above with a little water. If frozen parotta/parathas are being used,you need to cook it first. Once that is done. Chop the parotta into bite size pieces. Dip each piece into the batter and deep fry in a deep bottom pan or a wok. Fry till they are golden brown and keep it aside. Now saute the onion,green chillis and garlic. I used the same wok. Add chilli powder and garam masala and saute for 2 minutes. Add soy sauce,chilli sauce and ketchup and mix it well. Now, add the fried parotta/paratha pieces and mixit all up.Fry/saute for around 2-3 minutes and you are done!

Deep frying does the trick- giving you this crispy crunchy pieceswhich is later mixed with the spicy sauce.

Hot, Sooper spicy, Totally unhealthy,Enemy to your waistline chilli parotta/paratha is ready. Serve hot with some raita and hello bliss!!!
Oh ,one more thing, eat with your hands :D


Photos by : Yours truly.




Saturday, November 3, 2012

10,000 footprints!!!

Yesterday my blog had hit 10,000 page views!!! I knew it was nearing the big 5 digits and guess what, I missed the big moment. But, good things and good people still exist. I know it for sure because, yesterday I received a mail from blog friend Madhavi Rao-owner of Expressions Of Life.
She had mailed me saying she was my 10,000th visitor and the icing being the fact that she had sent me the printed screen!! Isn't that the sweetest?!!!
Thankyou Madhavi. Sometimes it is the small gestures which can brighten somebody's day!
You sure did, Madhavi dahling! :D


Also, I would like to thank all my readers, my bestie,S for motivating me to write whatever crap or otherwise which came in my mind and of course my dearest R who being my greatest supporter is also my biggest critic! Without you guys this blog would not even exist! **tears of joy** 
Yes I can be an emotional rut :|






Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book Review - The Kite Runner

Title: The Kite Runner.
Author: Khaled Hosseini.
Publisher: Riverhead Books.
Format: Paperback
Pages: 324.
Genre: Historical Fiction.
Blurb: Here.


Disclaimer: Long ultra long post.
I realized it only once I was done! :|

I picked up this book one afternoon after much contemplation as to which book to read next. I guess most of the readers feel the same. The uncertainty of WHAT to read next. There were many who recommended this book, so I thought, Why not?

My Thoughts:
If you are ready to have your heart yanked out and crushed, this book would be the best option. For a  reader who feels the pain and happiness of the  fictional characters as their own, this book is going to be like a Thanksgiving feast!
The Kite Runner is a pragmatic and insightful book set in Afghanistan in the 1960s and almost 3 decades after. The book starts with a time in Afghanistan which we no longer hear about. A time when there was no extremity in religion or customs. A time when people led normal happy lives. A country, prosperous and thriving! 
This, is a tale of  2 boys, Amir and Hassan. Amir, son of a successful broad minded businessman living in one of the better off places in Kabul and Hassan, son of their servant Ali who lives with them. How an ominous day changes the course of their lives forever. Both the boys had lost their mothers. Amir's mother had passed away at childbirth and Hassan's mother had eloped. The fathers were childhood friends too similar to the boys. Amir born a Pashtun - the majority in Afghanistan  and Hassan a Hazara. Hazaras were considered as low class and there was always a discrimination. Amir goes to school while Hassan helps his father with the household chores and is illiterate. However, in many segments its clear that Hassan though the illiterate one, is quite perceptive & observant. The boys have an unique relationship. Hassan dotes on Amir. It says in the book that the first word Hassan uttered when he was a baby/toddler was Amir's name. On the other hand, Amir has a confused state of mind when  considering their friendship. He likes Hassan, however the fact that that he is a Hazara and his servant prevails in Amir's heart. This feeling is also triggered due to Amir's father who gave equal importance to both the boys.
The book is described from Amir's point of view. So the readers get to see through the mind of a 12 year old boy who is insecure, confused, jealous and who yearns for his baba's approval. The depiction of the book, the thoughts going through a young boy was realistic & bitter at times. In many instances I felt that Amir was a coward, but on second thought, he was just a kid with the apprehensions of any confused boy of his age. I felt pity and was perplexed at the events turning out in Amir's life.
Those times,kite running was one of the most celebrated ritual.The deciding of which kite to buy, the strings,the pain of cutting your fingers and the victory were all a big deal then.Amir wanted to impress his father by winning the kite running competition. However, when the time arrives, he gets cold feet and Hassan is the one who motivates him. 
 Amir wins. After the competition,its downhill from there. Something terrible happens to Hassan and is witnessed by Amir. Amir, being the confused and cowardly boy does nothing while the injustice occurs to Hassan. After that fateful day, their friendship drifts apart even though Hassan tries his level best to revive the relationship. So much apart that, both the boys grow up in different continents. The guilt was too much for Amir to take resulting in events, ultimately forcing Ali and Hassan to leave the house for good. The Russians had invaded Kabul forcing Amir and his father to flee to Pakistan and later to America. In California, both father and son start a humble life anew. A life of flea markets, college , love, marriage, Amir being a published writer, the trauma of being childless, death of Amir's father.
Khaled Hosseini, author
Khaled Hosseini, author (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Little does Amir know that his life is never going to be the same when he gets a phone call from Baba's old friend, Amir's well wisher and mentor, Rahim Khan. Amir packs his bags to visit Rahim Khan in Pakistan after listening to him say "there is a way to be good again". In Pakistan, he learns that the Baba, the person who he idolized was after all human,flawed and mortal.The unworthy protagonist later travels back to his home land, which he can barely recognize now . The Talibans crawling all over the place, dilapidated buildings, beggars, beard patrol and the people living in fear. Here, in Kabul he sets out to find the young boy, Sohrab hoping to attain redemption. After an avalanche of events, Amir is united with Sohrab and together they go back to California. There, in a park, in th emidst of  flying a kite, he witnesses a  glimpse of his redemption - A smile. 'For you, a thousand times over'
The language is simple and the author uses his regional language in some places. The emotions come across strong & crystal clear. In some sections, its almost brutal. In some of the segments, it almost felt like an autobiography.
Like Amir, KH is a voracious reader and used to pour over Persian poems.
Like Amir, KH is a writer.
Like Amir, KH moved to the United States.

After reading the book, I had watched the movie. I had this lump in my throat throughout. :( A beautiful book that  is sure to traumatize you emotionally. A book which will remain in the hearts of the readers for a long long time.


My rating:




Word-O- Logy results and a Big Thankyou!

Few days back fellow blogger and now a friend , Tanya Sehgal had hosted a word game called Word-O-Logy. I had stumbled upon her blog Coveted Dreams from another friend and book blogger Ashna Banga, owner of Journal of a Bookworm.

I am immensely happy to announce that I won the Word-O-Logy !!!!! I was awarded the Master Word-O-Logist :mj It was quite humbling. I didn't even expect people to respond to my entries. Thankyou fellow bloggers for voting for me. Thankyou Tanya for hosting such a simple yet exciting game. Like I told Tanya, there were so many great players and I was at a loss for whom to vote. Congratulations Krincess Carl for winning the Excellence Word-O-Logist. :D
 I made quite a number of talented friends. Came across some wonderful blogs and works. For that, I want to thank each and every one of you. You guys are my inspiration. *tears of joy!!*  You have left me speechless!! :c


Thankyou All :) Now let me do my victory dance :e
    Dhin Chak Dhin Chak Dhin Chak Intz Intz Intz!!   :tone