Thursday, April 22, 2010

My brother's visit..

My brother visited us on his way to a conference in NY.. Sel and I have had many friends visiting us in the past, but nothing comes close to a family member's visit.. It's been almost a year since my we met.. Though we live in a 4-hours flight zone, things were pretty busy in the past for both of us.. Initially I moved to NJ, then we had to settle, then my brother and his family moved to their new home and they had to settle, this and that and never realized the days are being passing on to months.. Not to mention that I miss my sweet niece's hugs and kisses every once in a month (when I was working in TX, I tried my level best to visit my brother's place at least once a month to be with my sweet-little-cutie niece.. She is lovely and adorable.. she is cute... she is sweet.. and she is my baby love forever..)

My brother came on Saturday morning.. Remember, he hasn't seen our car yet and we wanted to keep that as a surprise... But he found out that we bought a car before even coming out of the airport.. *uff*.. So anyways, we picked him up in the car and came home.. I got up early and prepared few dishes (Veggie / masala parotta, Cauliflower-potato curry, Egg briyani, potato croquettes, onion raitha and baklava).. we had our heavy brunch after an extensive iPad session from my brother.. OH.. YEAH!!! He got a new iPad and he is spreading the GOOD word about it to everyone now.. :)

Then, we took him to a nearby Indian street.. Weather was very cold.. We walked for sometime and then went to another Indian street.. Went to Hot Breads and had a Vada Pav... Ahhhh.. God!!! It just melted in my mouth... Then came home after few stops here and there in Jersey City Boardwalk which showed us all the NYC Attractions.. :)

We were hungry by the time we reached home.. Had nice food and slept off as his flight was on Sunday morning... Sel and my brother played Wii tennis game for a while.. Then we all had breakfast and left home.. As his flight was on time (surprisingly!!!), he went for check-in and we waved good-bye....

Family member visits are always good.. Its refreshing... We all had fun and it was a sentimental moment for me when he went for check-in.. but we decided to visit my brother's family soon...

"I just can't wait.."...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Delightful dinner.. Soy curry & greeny-kopita..

I was all excited today.. about my new joining date at work which will be after our west coast trip.. yes! got an OK from my lead engineer @ work.. the much awaited trip for both of us after a very long time..

I just wanted to celebrate the moment... so I thought of trying some new recipe.. Now that Sel and I have decided to reduce the intake of oil / carbohydrate-rich food, I have to consider that while venturing out any new dish.. So, I decided to prepare something with mustard greens.. Usually I prepare saag paneer, but as paneer is loaded with fats and calories, I have to find some new recipe to use the greens.. Then I remembered that Sel wanted to buy spanakopita but refused after looking at the nutritional value.. So I decided to prepare the same with mustard leaves + spinach as an appetizer.. The entire dish used only 1 tsp of olive oil and I baked the final mixture instead of frying it.. So, we saved ourselves from a whole load of calories.. :)

Greeny-kopita Recipe: (I prefer fresh veggies as frozen ones has more sodium.. It takes an extra few minutes, but that's OK by me.. :) But, if you are on a time crunch, then go ahead and use frozen veggies..)
> Boil Mustard greens + Spinach leaves - 5 mins
(later, you can also drink the water from boiling the greens.. Just add a pinch of salt & pepper for a tasty spicy drink)
> Heat Oil (1 tsp).
> Add Chopped Garlic (1-2) + Ginger + Onions (1 medium sized)
> When the raw smell is gone, add coriander cumin powder (1 tsp) + red chilli flakes (depends on your spice level.. Sel doesn't eat spicy foods, so I added 1tbsp even though I would like to add more spice...* ufff*)
> Add boiled greens (it'll be a little watery, but wait till it evaporates).
> Add cheese (I used fat-free cheese).. Cheese is usually salty so check before adding extra salt..
> Keep stirring and add salt and then wheat flour (1/4 cup).

When the paste consistency is reached, let the mixture cool..
Now, prepare the phyllo sheets as instructed (I usually get this in Target).. I know how difficult it is to use the phyllo sheets, but believe me, its worth it... :)
>> Take a layer of phyllo sheet, use fat free spread on the corners (it does a better job than butter)..
>> Fill in the greens mixture and roll it into small triangles or any shape you want (just keep the filling covered)..
>> Preheat the oven to 350 deg. With a little bit of cooking spray (calorie free) in the baking oven, arrange all the greeny-kopitas...
>> Kopitas will be ready in 20-30 minutes (Depending on the size of the kopitas).. :)

Ofcourse, I didn't stop with just that.. For main dish, I wanted to prepare something with paneer.. But decided to go for soy chunks and prepared soya curry.. (Just a regular mix of oil + jeera + fenugreek seeds + garlic + ginger + onion + tomatoes + coriander-cumin powder + garam masala + salt + ground soya chunks (boil before grinding)).. These chunks are fat-free and are loaded with proteins.. So, there wasn't any need for me to prepare a after-dinner dish (because there are days when we feel hungry within an hour or two after our early dinner.:))..

It sure looks yummy and we really enjoyed our guilt-free, low calorie food!!!!
It was tasty and yummy and healthy.. Which led me to a thought of preparing similar low-calorie dishes and posting it in my blog whenever time permits..

I'm glad that Sel and I are trying our level best to keep up our promise to eat healthy food everyday... :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

After a long wait!!!

Long wait is finally OVER!!!!

As the summer is out, we thought we might need a car to go out every weekend.. Believe me, the car rentals drive me crazy every time I see the total amount in the bill ...
To avoid this craziness, we decided to buy a car.. We were busy looking for the car deals over the past few weeks..

We found an wonderful ad in
Craigslist... Ad was simple.. We got the point that the car is in good condition.. So, I called Mrs. CG and spoke with her telling her I will visit her place next day to take it for a test-drive.. I even drove for an hour and half to see the car (not to mention that I combined one of my interview schedule with car-seeing to save car rental and time).. I liked the car. very very much... It was in pristine condition.. Oh.. Forgot to mention that Mrs. CG's mom and I share the same first name (Except for the way the letters were arranged..:) ) I also checked another car on the same day (which looked good except for few missing buttons and loose hand rail which the dealer said he would fix it for me)... Came home and spoke with Sel about the cars...We were confused as in which one to choose.. But I really liked Mrs. CG's car and her enthusiasm about her car... She told me that "Even if you don't buy my car, I recommend you to buy an AUDI"... Oh... YES, Of course!!! we were looking for Audi cars.. :))

From all the time we spent discussing about the pros and cons of each car, Sel decided to talk to Mrs. CG.. He called her and spoke to her about the car features and things that has to be taken care of after the car purchase... He was moved by Mrs. CG's frankness.. So we told her that we will buy the car..

Then we got the insurance the following day.. ALL SET!!!! We went to Mrs. CG's place on Friday (04/16/10).. REMEMBER!! Sel saw the car for the first time.. From the sparkles in his eyes, I understood that he liked the car.. WHAT ELSE DO I NEED!!! He is happy and so am I... And here is the sneak peak... :)

Then, I asked Sel to drive the car (as we took a rental car to go to her place, someone has to drive it back, right!!!).. I was driving the rental car and Sel drove Audi A6... I can tell you that on our way back, Sel was like a 5 years old kid trying to explore his new car...

We returned the rental car and on our way to registration, I got a call from an Employer (I attended this interview last week and I did a real good job.. I mean it!!) saying that he has a good news and that they are ready to offer me a job as Materials Scientist... CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!!! I got a job.. After almost 8 months, I got a job in a field I always wanted to be... I was also told that they received a very positive feedback from everyone who interviewed me and that I'm their BEST candidate so far... REALLLLYY!!! I was so flattered... I accepted the offer immediately.. But then they wanted to confirm few things about the immigration and everything - SO, nothing was finalized... it was like as if someone pulled all the air from brand new tires... !!!

But still, We went out to celebrate everything... April 16th, 2010 was really OUR DAY...

Got an OK from the Employer today morning... :)

I just remembered all the tough times related to interview over the past 8 months.. Lots of interviews and lots of rejections... Sel has been my energy well pumping in loads of energy and optimism during my
depression-after-interview phase.. I am pretty sure that I wouldn't have gone this far without him.. Thanks for all the love and encouragement and optimism and everything.. :).. Love you Sel..

Next in the list is my parents.. I know they were constantly worried about the fact that I was looking for jobs... My mom will be busy for the next few months fulfilling all her prayers to all gods throughout the world.. :)
Love you mama, papa..

I'm going to be celebrating this for the next few days...
After all, it's what Sel and I have been waiting for from August 2009.. :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunny and Superb Sunday..

Last Sunday was just GREAT and AWESOME.. Sel and I went to NY after a longggg time... Weather was just right for us to get out of the house sacrificing our couch potato Sunday afternoon which is usually our TV time...:) We went to a flea market (finally!! I have been wanting to go to the market for quite some time now).. Didn't see anything interesting or should I say I found it a bit more expensive than I expected.. So, after almost an hour of walking inside the market, we decided to go out and check out the places nearby..

We went to our favorite Malaysian restaurant and had a wonderful roti canai.. Came out of the restaurant wanting to go home and just doze off.. :) But when we came out, the weather was too good to just ignore .. So, we continued walking.. We had a nice strong coffee from aroma on our way.. the coffee was too strong and too awakening.. We took a stroll along the neighborhood as it was loaded with flowers... A very pleasant visual treat for everyone there..

Tulips, Tulips
More Tulips..

More More Tulips...

We saw a Barnes & Noble nearby and went inside to check the nook.. After spending some time in there, we went to the nearby Apple store to check the sizzling sensation iPad (we weren't planning on buying anything from any of these stores, Thank you!!!)..

Sizzling Sensation for now!!!! till the next i-series... :)

After almost an hour of walking, we still were enjoying the wonderful streets of The Big Apple.. Here and there on our way, we took some pictures to cherish the looks of beautiful flowers, buildings... We came to Times Square and Oh My!!!! Lights, lights everywhere to let everyone think that Sun never sets in New York (just like in the lyrics of Jay-z & Alicia Keys song New York) :)

On our way, we waved a Hello.. How you doing? to our Empire State Building.. :)
Then, we went to Macys to check out their famour Flower Show... And, it was just amazing.. Color coordinated flowers did not only increase the charm of the building but enhanced the rich look of all the jewelleries / accessories... We took a couple of pictures there. :)

Beautiful chandelier with colorful flowers to add a little bit of spice to the room..

Bright colored flowers whispering Thanks for coming.. :)
And, Gosh!!!! Look at the roses.. I wanted to take the entire rose vase (or stand) with me, but Sel didn't let me to.. His answer was a big NO.. -- SIGH --..

Finally, we reached our metro station and took a train to our home.. We weren't expecting such a crowd on a Sunday evening.. But I guess everyone came out of their houses to enjoy the sunny weather in wonderful New York City..

Friday, April 9, 2010

Home Sweet Home..

It is just like yesterday – when I waved bye to my wonderful friends in TX and took a flight to NJ.. Sel and I moved in to a wonderful apartment and believe it or not, its been 9 months since the move.. Gosh!! Time does fly like crazy...

Though we live in an apartment, we consider it our Home.. Home Sweet Home... A wonderful home that gives us a very warmth feeling about being in there...In the beginning, we used to think a lot about buying even a small thing to decorate the house... Believe it or not, we still do.. :)

To welcome our guests and to provide them a visual treat, I decided to decorate the entrance side wall by displaying the photos taken by Sel.. He is an excellent photographer.. and I really like the way those flowers pose to express their beauty just for his camera lens. :)
We liked the dining table design (OK..Ok.. Sel chose the design) .. It is for two people, but can be stretched/unfolded to serve 4.. Isn't that great!!! I try to keep in new flowers every week and this week - it’s our favorite roses.. A 3-tier snack shelf shares the table with a salt shaker / pepper grinder and our favorite silverware..

Then, we decided to buy the remaining furniture to match this color. That is a mix of birch, beech and beige color (I KNOW!!!!).. Sel wanted a low height entertainment center with few racks to keep our game stuff and home theater..
I had over 30 Ganeshji's idols.. :) But then with Sel's "simplicity loving attitude", we have only one Ganeshji in our prayer shelf (Thanks Kumz - for the sandalwood Ganeshji)..Simple and lovely...
We got our couch after some time.. Though it was very difficult to assemble, we like it very much... :) Sel’s painting and rose potpourri to decorate the side table...
Then there was this cube structure in Target.. The moment we saw it, we knew that we gotto have it.:)
I have my own music corner (though I don't play it every day, I try my level best..:))
Sel’s paintings to decorate the sill..

Photo corner is one of our favorite place at home..It includes our wedding invitation, photos of our parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and my friends..

Kitchen is my favorite place these days.. I spend most of my afternoon exploring new cuisines.. I spend so much time in there every day that I even started thinking about writing a separate blog for my exercise and food routine.. :)
It's crystal clear that Sel and I love decorating our home.. After all, Home is where the heart is.. Hope you enjoyed this post as much as we enjoy being in this marvelous place.. :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Summer in Jersey

As the summer is out (finally!!!), I have renewed my resolution (for nth time!!!) to go for jogging everyday.. Whenever I go out for jogging I find it very difficult to hold the bottle on one hand, jingling keys on the other.. Even then, I haven't found a place to hold my phone?? With all these items on hands and pockets, I feel very uncomfortable.. So, I had put in a request to buy me a hipster or fanny pack to hold all the items needed for jogging...

Sel has been looking out for such bags very meticulously and he finally bought me one from Target store.. It was kinda expensive but I really liked it.. It holds my iphone, keys, id card, dollar bills, water bottle and what not.. WHOA!!!! Check the color and design - isn't it awesome!!!

Everyone in the nearby park (where I go for jogging) look at my bag and are probably thinking about buying it.. :) Every time someone looks at my bag, I feel so happy about it.. Thank you so much for buying me the bag, Sel.. You are THE best.. :)

I'm all set to enjoy my jogging sessions every day.. Here I come, Summer... :)
(This is also my First Summer in Jersey.. GREATTTT!!!!! )