Friday, July 31, 2009

The cookie monster strikes!

I think I'm starting to remember why I don't bake that often.

It's because I can't stop eating what I've baked. :)

Anyway, today was another day of shopping and I did quite the damage. I went over my budget, but that was because I saw 2 really cute purses at Kohls. And don't worry, my usual buyer's remorse will set in shortly and I will be off returning stuff. That's my shopping M.O. -- buy first, then question later. If I see something I like in my size I snatch it up because chances are if I wait too long it'll be gone.

So after spending a few hours shopping, I came home starving for lunch.

I finished off the last of the turkey keema I'd made a couple days ago, along with half a tortilla and two of those innocent-looking but evil cookies. See how they lurk in the back like that? Last week Kroger had ground turkey on sale -- $1 for one of those 1-lb tubey things. And it was light turkey too. I went and bought $10 worth so I could stock up on them for easy meals later. Always thinking ahead.

I spent the rest of the afternoon on the internet. And then after I posted that wedding video, I was sending messages back and forth to my cousin on Facebook about some Bollywood videos we'd loved back in the day and then I started getting nostalgic and began watching them on YouTube. I'm sure my husband thought I'd lost my mind again when he saw me glued to the computer watching all that cheesiness. Good stuff though.

Don't worry, I did manage to tear myself away to get dinner going. I had some chicken drumsticks thawing in the fridge that I needed to use up. See, those were the result of yet another good sale a few weeks ago -- chicken drumsticks and thighs were $.99/lb so I stocked up. Of course at that low of a price they came with the skin on, which I hate dealing with. Anyway, I figured a good way to use up the drumsticks was to marinate them in one of those bottled marinades and then bake them up.

No evil cookies here, just chicken and some lettuce and tomatoes.

We decided to watch a movie as we were eating dinner -- we have had some movies from Netflix for a few weeks now and really need to watch them. We watched RocknRolla, which is a crime flick, not really my type, but it wasn't too bad.

Oh but we decided to snack a bit as we were watching. There might have been some Sun Chips that made their way into my tummy but managed to avoid being photographed.

Look who decided to show up!

Those darn cookies keep showing up everywhere like those travelling gnomes.

That's it for tonight!

A little Friday fun!

Okay I know this video has been all over the interwebs this past week, but I couldn't resist putting on here. I love it!


The Un-Omelet

I've been having cereal for breakfast quite a bit these past couple weeks and thought I'd change things up a bit and do a veggie omelet today.

Does that look like an omelet to you?


I think the mistakes were using only 1 egg, and then not beating the egg enough before pouring into the pan. Once I tried flipping it and it tore, I figured I might as well do my version of scrambled eggs, which seem to resemble smushed up omelet rather than scrambled eggs.

Oh well, it tasted really good! I sauteed some fresh mushrooms and spinach in cooking spray before adding the egg. Then I added a little chopped green onion and cheese. Once on the plate I added more green onion, a little bit more cheese (all for presentation, of course!), and some salsa. I think I will try to sautee mushrooms and spinach to keep on hand for impromptu omelets or to go with lunches and dinners.

So I decided I'm going to do my best to document my food each day, depending on where I am and who I'm with. For now I'm going to hold off on tracking calories or points -- I just want to see how I eat when I know I'll have an audience. :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A spicy dinner and monochromatic dessert

So we did end up seeing the Monet exhibit. Though I like Impressionism and Monet's work, I have to admit I was very disappointed by the exhibit. It took up all of 2 rooms. I would have loved to have seen more and would gladly have spent hours soaking it all in. We ended up spending 20 minutes max. It's a good thing we took advantage of a special the museum was running where they offer 50% admission on Thursdays from 4-8 pm, otherwise I would have felt even more upset. Anyway, at least we got to inject a bit of culture into our week!

After we were done, we were both getting hungry. Now, we were in the Midtown portion of Atlanta, which is where I used to work a few years ago. There are so many great restaurants in that area, but a lot of them were just a bit too pricey for us right now. We tossed around some ideas and were going to go to a Bangladeshi restaurant when Mr. Spice suggested we get some Caribbean food. I thought of a place a former coworker loved going to and highly recommended. It was a bit of a drive from where we were, but it was way after rush hour so the highway was clear.

It wasn't until we had the menus that we realized that this place was also a bit out of our price range considering our current situation, but we decided once in a while was okay and this would just be our once in a while. :) There were so many good choices, and I was wavering between quite a few but I ended up ordering the curry chicken/jerk chicken combo and Mr. Spice ordered the oxtail/curry goat combo. I really wish I could have taken a picture of my plate to show you how much food there was, but you know how Mr. Spice is about taking pictures of food in restaurants. Le sigh. But I did the next best thing and took a picture of the leftovers I brought home!

Starting from the top left: rice and beans, steamed veggies, and then the good stuff -- Jerk chicken on the left and curry chicken on the right.

The food at the restaurant was pretty good. The jerk chicken could have been spicier, but it was still good. I liked the curry chicken, but that's probably a given since I'm used to eating Indian food. Oh and I even tried some of Mr. Spice's oxtail and goat curry. Now this is a big deal since I don't like eating goat meat or lamb. The goat didn't have that "goat-y" taste that I usually find when I've tried it at restaurants or other people's houses. I'm not saying I would order an entree of goat meat, but I would try a bite here and there. The oxtail is really beef, and it was good -- very rich and meaty tasting. Again, I wouldn't order it myself as an entree but I would sample it again.

I was good about not polishing off my food, but that would have been hard to do anyway since they served so much food. But I was still careful not to let myself get to that stuffed point that's so easy to do when the food tastes good. I knew I wanted some ice cream when I got home, so that helped me stop when I had enough.

Now then, onto my monochromatic dessert.

I probably should have put this into one of my cute little prep bowls, but I guess it worked out after all.

I don't know if you guys have tried Ben and Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk ice cream. If you haven't, please do so. It's so good. I usually go for the all chocolate-type ice creams, but this is definitely up there in my favorites. It's a cinnamon-y ice cream with oatmeal cookie chunks and chocolate chunks. So good. Well when I saw that Publix had come out with their (significantly cheaper) version of it, I had to give it a try. The main difference is that the ice cream here is a honey ice cream with cinnamon swirls in it, but the taste is pretty dead on otherwise. If only someone would make a low-fat version of this!

But most importantly, don't you love how the ice cream matches my bowl? It even kinda goes with the counter-top!

Bargain Hunting Thursday

How on earth do you guys think of new titles every day?

Anyway, today through Sunday is a sales tax holiday in Georgia for school supplies, clothes, shoes, and certain other items, all subject to price limits. I was just concerned about the shoes and clothes -- anything under $100 is exempt from sales tax.

Without jinxing myself, I have some good news on the job situation! So I decided to treat myself and get some new things.

I really really needed some brown dress shoes for work, so I hit up DSW to see what they had. I saw some cute pointy-toed shoes, but my feet are weird and wide at the top so those shoes tend to not be so comfy. Then I saw some cute kitten-heeled round-toed pumps. These were actually pretty dang comfortable! I found them in black and brown, and the black ones were 40% off. Score! Oh then I hit the clearance room and found some brown wedge pumps kinda like these that were also 40% off. All together, the total for the 3 pairs of shoes was under $90!

I did plenty of wandering around after that, looking around in Macy's and New York and Company, but nothing really caught my eye. I decided to go to the Gap to see if I could find any jeans -- although they tend to cost more than I'd like, jeans from here just fit me better. I managed to find a pair of jeans in my size on the sale rack, but the others were all priced at $10 and these were much more. I went ahead and tried them on anyway. They fit perfectly, but were a little long. For being such a shorty (4 ft. 11 and 3/4!), I have long legs and short/petite lengths are almost too short for me and the regular length is a bit too long. I figured with heels or boots I could get away with them and decided to suck it up and get them. Well imagine my surprise when they rang up as $10! Wohoo! I'm so glad I didn't put them back! So even if I go get them hemmed, they'll still cost way less than what they usually do.

My feet started hurting after a while so I decided to call it quits for now. When did I get so old? Still need to look for some work clothes, but I have 3 more days to look!

And look what I did. I spent most of this post yakking about shopping when I was supposed to be posting what I have been eating today.

So here we go!

I started off this rainy gloomy day with some Honey Nut Cheerios, vanilla soy milk, a few blueberries, and some orange juice. Can you believe that glass only has 1/2 cup of juice in it? Imagine filling it with orange juice, you're looking at at least 1.5 cups. Good thing my little cereal bowl is actually a measuring/prep bowl, helps to keep the portion sizes in check.

After I got back from the mall, I was starving for lunch. I quickly put together a wrap with turkey, pepperjack cheese, horseradish mustard, green leaf lettuce, and tomato on a Flat-Out wrap. Oh and there are some baked Doritos in the background!

I was still hungry after lunch so I decided to have a couple of the chocolate chip cookies I made yesterday. Don't those look so good? This is my sister's top-secret recipe which she divulged to me, but made me promise not to put on my blog. It's a heavy price to pay, but for cookies this good it's worth it. Sorry guys!

That's all for now. Dinner's up in the air -- we're thinking of hitting up the Monet exhibit at the High Museum of Art this evening so we might eat around there.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July Book Club

As you all know by now, our monthly book club get-togethers are just a thinly veiled excuse to eat!

This month we all read The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. I highly recommend it! Not to give too much away, but it takes place primarily in North Africa, which is often culinarily lumped together with the Middle East . So we decided to have a North African/Middle-Eastern themed potluck.

Our lovely hostess did the amazing chicken/veggie kababs, as well as provided pita chips with hummus and baba ghanoush. I did couscous, and our friends brought mango key lime pie, the ingredients for fruit salad, and sfouf, which is a Lebanese cake.

All ready to eat! Except the sfouf, which was baking away.

Chicken and vegetable kababs

Couscous with herbs and spices -- olive oil, parsley, mint, turmeric, paprika, cumin, za'atar, and some other stuff I don't remember. Sorry for the crappy blurry picture, I must have been excited about the food!

The BEST fruit salad -- raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, nectarines, and plums, all mixed with honey, lime juice, fresh mint, and cinnamon.

Mango-Key Lime Pie -- soo good!

Sfouf - semolina turmeric cake. Fun to say, fun to eat!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Anybody want some cookbooks?

If you've been reading this blog, you know how I am about buying cookbooks. It's a compulsion.

Well, I've decided it's time to weed out ones that I was a bit too compulsive about buying or that I just no longer want. I'm also doing this with other books and movies we own. It's ridiculous how many piles of books there are around the house. They just seem to pop up out of nowhere. Okay, so maybe I have something to do with that!

Anyway, I'm debating whether to put them on Ebay, Craigslist, etc. If you have any suggestions, feel free to pass them on. If it's too much of a hassle I'm just going to donate them.

If you're interested in some cookbooks, let me know as well. I'll post a list or picture of the books shortly.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Saying hello to an old friend

I know what some of you are thinking. What on earth are ketchup flavored chips??

To answer this query, I will tell you that they are precisely what they sound like they are. Potato chips with a ketchup flavoring. Sorry, flavouring, since I first had these on a visit to Canada many many years ago when I was a kid.

I remember being excited when we would go visit relatives there because it meant coming back with a few things: ketchup chips, Weetabix cereal, and the "good" British chocolates like Aero bars, Twirl bars, Cadbury, etc. The novelty of these chips didn't escape me even back then. I also remember other flavors like "everything" chips, and pickle-flavored chips, among others. What can I say, I'm always intrigued by the different flavors of chips that are found in different countries. When we were in Toronto a couple years ago for my cousin's wedding, I made it a point to inspect the nearby grocery store to see what other flavors I could find and yes, I did buy different ones to try.

I always just figured that these were treats I would only be able to have once in a while if we were ever visiting Canada. But sometimes, I would find packets of these chips in Walmart and once more I could taste the memories of my childhood. And for a brief wonderful period of time, Lays sold dill pickle-flavored chips here in Atlanta, tasting just like the Canadian kind we'd had long ago. To me they have the same appeal as the salt and vinegar flavored chips -- the sharp tang of the vinegar, the salt crystal on the chips, the rawness of my tongue from the salt and vinegar after devouring the chips. The same aroma that draws me to them repels my husband, who just mutters something about how it must be a weird woman thing to like those chips. While we were driving to Memphis a couple weeks ago, we had to stop for gas somewhere in Alabama and I spotted a bag of dill pickle flavored chips. I was spiteful enough to take pleasure in the fact that he would be stuck in the car with me as I ate them. :)

But back to my ketchup chips. These too have a tangy smell as you open the bag, but not as sharp as the salt and vinegar/pickle chips. This smell is tempered by a sweetness from the no doubt fake tomato flavoring. The chips are dusted with an almost angry red powder that stains your nails hours after ransacking the bag for all the salty little crumbs. When I saw them a couple days ago, hanging out at the end of the aisle in Walmart, I saw that the ketchup chips were not alone. Nope, there were also steak-flavored chips and green onion-flavored chips, other flavors I remembered seeing long ago. But I only had eyes for the ketchup chips.

I brought them home and showed them to my husband who again rolled his eyes at the weird things I like to eat sometimes. Whatever, it meant the bag was all mine. I did enjoy that bag. I especially enjoyed the first chip, my mouth watering in anticipation of the taste and in reaction to the memories that the bag invoked -- of long car trips years ago, the excitement of discovering something new, and of being a kid on summer vacation with no cares or worries in the world.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Quick update

Hey, sorry I haven't been on in a while!

I'm back from visiting my parents, everything went well last week. Anyway, I'm settling back in here, so I'll be back posting shortly.

Stay tuned for more yummy eats!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Slight change in plans . . .

The wedding was absolutely beautiful and it was great to see all my family, even those who traveled all the way from Bangladesh to be there. Loved it all.

Mr. Spice and I drove up to Memphis from Atlanta on Friday and got there a few hours before that night's pre-wedding ceremony started. Saturday night was the wedding and we had the whole day to ourselves. We ran some errands and then set out to have some Memphis barbecue! One of Mr. Spice's friends had recommended a place, but it looked like a lot of driving, so we wanted to find somewhere else. I am a huge Food Network dork and love watching Down Home with the Neelys -- they are so cute! Just for kicks I looked up their restaurant and it turned out one of the locations wasn't that far from our hotel. Off we went. I didn't take pics because you know how Mr. Spice is about taking pics in restaurants. But I can tell you it was pretty dang good. Mr. Spice got the pulled pork and I got the smoked turkey. Both of our plates were piled high with food and we didn't make a dent in them.

Anyway, so the original plan was that we'd drive back to Atlanta on Sunday. However, I found out last week that my dad has to have some tests done on his heart later this week to test for blockage. I tend to worry about everything anyway, but I asked my mom if they wanted me to come out to help out and all that since I'm currently not working. They both said they would like that, so I ended up driving back home with my parents to Kansas yesterday. Not sure how long I will be here, at least a week though.

I was kinda hoping I'd get to do some cooking with my mom and learn some new stuff or even cook for them, but it looks like they're both on a health kick and aren't really cooking a lot. Pooey. But at least it'll help me stay on track food-wise! We stocked up on fresh fruit, veggies, soy milk, veggie burgers, etc. And I might as well post some of my daily eats while I'm here, so I'll start us off with today's lunch:

In the little bowl: fresh blueberries and strawberries

On my plate: sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, Boca Chik'n patty on 2 slices of Nature's Own Double Fiber bread, a slice of pepperjack, and some sriracha. The plate is from my poor grad school days, but my mom keeps it around for me to use when I visit. Gotta love that Corelle! :)

If I get a chance to cook anything yummy, you can be sure I'll post it!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Just a little something I threw together . . .

So I told you my phupi (dad's sister) and her family were in town and were going to visit us last night. I was really looking forward to it -- it's fun to have my relatives come and visit me at my house, since I always enjoyed visiting them.

Anyway, I think I went a little crazy with dinner last night, but it turned out pretty well in the end. Thankfully I started cooking some of it Monday and Tuesday so that yesterday I just had to do the rice, dal, and salad and reheat the other stuff I'd made. I miss having our cleaners, but I think Mr. Spice and I did a serviceable job of cleaning up. That is definitely something we'll have to start up again once I find a new job.

I took pictures of everything but the rice and salad, since I did those after they got to our house. These were taken just before they got here, so they aren't in their final prettied up version. Here's what we ate last night:

Chicken and Potatoes cooked in Whole Spices -- this is a variation of the White Chicken Curry recipe I posted a while back. No fresh green chilies though. And I added green cardamom, black/brown cardamom, bay leaves, a cinnamon stick, and dried red chilies. I tossed in some garam masala powder and some Kitchen King Masala powder just for kicks.

Salmon in Caramelized Onion Sauce -- this is a recipe from Ajanta: Regional Feasts of India, by Lachu Moorjani. I've already tweaked it a little and hope to do some more before I feel comfortable posting it. I do feel that this is a keeper in my dishes to impress arsenal. It's sweet, hot, and a little tangy and I feel that salmon goes with it perfectly.

Lemon Moong Dal -- I posted a variation of this a while back too, except that version had garlic and spinach and used masoor dal instead. Very simple, very good.

I'm unofficially calling these my "I don't remember what I put into these but they're damn good" kababs. This was one of those instances where I just pulled out a bunch of spices and went to town. I actually do remember most of what went into these, but I'd rather develop a more reliable recipe before I post it. Just trust me, these were good. My two cousins kept saying they liked them and the younger one said they were just like restaurant kababs! The dish looked much better when I served it -- I garnished it with red onion slices, some green onion slices and a few sprigs of parsley. Cilantro would be traditional, but I cannot stand it, especially when it's fresh.

Oh there's more.

I even did breakfast for this morning. I really had to restrain myself from going all out, but I did it. They needed to get going this morning so they could get to Memphis for the wedding this weekend. We're driving up tomorrow. Anyway, I did a lighter version of a traditional Bengali breakfast, which would normally include omelets, parathas (flaky breads), and what I'm calling Bengali-style hash browns (aloo bhaji), among other items. I just did the omelets and aloo bhaji and pan-toasted some tortillas to stand in for the heavier parathas.

The omelets were simple -- sliced onion, sliced green chilies, salt, and pepper. We do our omelets on the well-done side. I think I finally mastered aloo bhaji. This is one of my favorite Bengali breakfast dishes, it goes so well with parathas, or pooris (deep-fried breads), and even tortillas. Instead of laboriously shredding potatoes, I use frozen shredded hash browns, like most people I know. At it's simplest, it's just browned onions, a whole green chili if you want, the potatoes, and salt and pepper. And the teeniest bit of turmeric for color. I upped it a bit and put in some nigella seeds, which I put in hot oil after the onions started browning. Very subtly flavored, but oh so good.

Confession: I totally staged this plate for a photo after they left. Mr. Spice very happily ate this after I was done taking pictures. I think he secretly likes me being home and being a good little Bengali housewife. :P

Anyway, now I have to finish packing for the wedding this weekend. If I don't post again this weekend, have a good one!

Monday, July 6, 2009


Sorry, I didn't realize it had been over a week since I last posted! Must have lost track of time, I've had so much stuff going on!

I have another crazy week this week, so I will try to post if I can. My dad's sister and her family are in town and will be visiting us Wednesday night, so I've been trying to clean up and figure out what to make for them. We are all going up to Memphis for a wedding this weekend, so I've also been trying to get ready for that -- consulting about sari and jewelry choices, going to the bank to get jewelry, going to Indian stores to pick up last minute things, etc.

Anyway, I've been trying to keep up with my Google reader, so even if I'm not commenting, I'm still reading! I hope it calms down a little once we get back next week and that I'll have some stuff to post!

Hope to see you around!