Recipes & Reading Update - Oct'20

2020 continues to be a very strange year. For many of us, it's been close to 8 months of working, schooling from home. While I continue to enjoy the no-commute part and spending more time w/ kids parts, a little monotone fatigue is also setting in. To add to that, we went through a crazy fire season in bay area, fueled by (guess what) a rare freak lightning storm event late summer igniting multiple fires across the nearby forests and mountains. For weeks, the sky was filled with smoke and the sun looked like a red orange ball in yellow orange skies. We lost parts of our beloved Big Basin Redwood State Park to raging fires and countless mountain communities suffered damages. Only recently that we are back to better weather now.

Anyhow, through all that, here we are in the crisp fall season! Days are getting shorter and mornings are crisper. It's a blissful feeling to sit in the front yard watching the increasing yellows on the trees, fall roses in the air, basking in a nice warming sun, sipping hot coffee. We must all enjoy life's little pleasures!

Cooking has been a challenge of late both with work picking up and the fatigue of the same recipes over and over. So we changed things up a bit last month. I found convenient salad kits at our local Whole Foods. They are great - just mix prepped things together, add the dressing from the kit and serve! We have tried kale ceasar salad, asian salad, greek salad, cranberry walnut salad, sweet kale & Southwestern salad. I pair the salad with a warm soup - either leftovers from a big pot cooked over the weekend or bought from Whole Foods (creamy tomato, carrot ginger, Indian spiced red lentil soup - are all great!). Easy fuss-free lunches! We had a few crazy days when adults were all in meetings during daughter's lunch hour, but the salads are so simple that an 8-year old can put them together and manage to have a healthy lunch with little oversight.

Friday and weekends is when we *really* cook. Last weekend, as a nod to fall, I made a simple pumpkin bread from this recipe. It came out wonderfully. The only edit to the recipe I made was to reduce the sugar and increase the fruit (pumpkin in this case + cranberries). A slice of this bread with butter on top is a great fall afternoon treat!

I also got into naan making recently. It's always something I have wanted to try and I was amazed at how easy it was to put together the dough and how tasty it came out cooked on a cast iron pan! Truly restaurant quality... this is a keeper recipe, I'll be sure to be making it again & again.

Our fig tree has been overflowing with fruit this year.. though finishing it up has never been an issue at our home. We all love ripe sweet figs and can polish off 10-15 big ones in a sitting :) They are also great added into salads or on toast with goat cheese - yum!

Another fun treat this summer was grilling Indian papad on an outdoor grill. We have an electric stove which is not much friendly to papad making. I tried microwave method but wasn't really a fan of it.. until my husband decided to throw them on the grill one day. Nicely toasty and yum - great with chopped tomato onion masala on top!

Reading Update:


While my reading velocity slowed down quite a bit recently, I still managed to dig into a few interesting reads. The first was a bestseller Where the Crawdads Sing - a mystery set in the marshlands of south which is also a coming of age story of a young abandoned girl living alone and figuring her way through life. I enjoyed the book - it was a page turner for sure.

Second was a portrayal of Jane Seymour, the Tudor queen #3 of King Henry VIII. I am interested in the history of that era and enjoyed the book of the queen seldom portrayed compared to her well-known predecessor Anne Boleyn. 

Third book was by an Indian author Recipe for Pursuasion - while the book itself was a bit hard to keep going at times, it was interleaved with delicious food writing that kept me from putting it down. 

Lastly, my Mom recently made this wonderful knitted/crocheted Diwali Faral plate (snacks) which made our day. Retired after many years of working as a maths professor, now she is able to devote all her time to her passions - which has been arts and crafts of all sorts. She takes a lot of joy and pride in teaching these crafts to the younger generation through her Youtube channel Kalopasak - check it out!

Till next time, folks, hope you have some spooky time watching scary movie, candy scavenger hunt or whatever else you plan to do this Halloween :)