Well, more than a year and a half later I am still trying to lose all of my baby weight. I had some momentum going but the California trip definitely set me back. Eating in most nights is one thing that helps. I tend to over-buy at the grocery store, but when you compare it to the cost of take out we still come out ahead. Probably not sound financial reasoning, but it's better than nothing. Even though the meals I cook don't always turn out that well. I can always tell when a dish falls flat because our little gourmand will refuse to touch it. Then again, he did try to put dog food in his mouth the other day, ha.
Ok, here are two really great recipes that I made recently.
Pan-fried paneer with cucumber-grape Pulav
The first is Indian, but not as heavy as traditional food. Start the pulav first and finish chopping up the vegetables before starting the paneer. You could use almost any mix of grains here, but I like adding quinoa for the protein.
1/2 c brown basmati rice
1/2 c quoina
1/4 c red sticky rice
generous handful of curry leaves
1 clove garlic, softened
1 small green chili, whole
For garnish, bunch of cilantro chopped, 1/2 cucumber deseeded and diced and 1/2 c grapes halved
Place everything except the garnishes in 2 1/2 c of boiling water until cooked through. Season with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Remove the green chili. Combine with the garnishes and drizzle with 1/2 tbsp mustard oil. Add more salt to taste.
***I make this in a rice cooker, just add all the ingredients and push the button. Mine only has two settings, on and warming. I just hit the on button and it automatically switches over to warming. This can easily be done in a crock pot as well, just add the cucumber, cilantro and grapes after it is done.***
large handful of curry pathe
sprinkle of ginger powder, haldi, hing, mustard seeds and paneer tikka masala
pinch of sea salt to taste
1 small onion, cut in thin slices
1/2 green chili, sliced
1 clove garlic, diced
about 1 cup paneer, cut in 1/4 inch slices
2 tbsps oil and 1 tsp ghee
Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet and add the curry leaves so they get nice and crispy. Then combine the rest of the ingredients, allowing the onions and garlic to soften before adding the paneer. Place the paneer in one layer, allowing it brown on each side.
I served this with salted yogurt and cashews on the side. The fresh grapes are a lot better than raisins and the nuttiness of the whole grains was really livened up by the fresh garnishes. Lots of different spices could be used with the paneer but the curry leaves and mustard oil definitely take the flavor to another level and are not optional. This is a new staple for us!
Sweet Corn Fritters with Avocado Salsa and Roasted Chickpeas
Okay, the other dish is new-American and based on something I saw in Telepan's cookbook and Bill Granger's show on the Cooking Channel. I started the roasted chickpeas first, then the salsa so I could make the fritters right before eating them. Avinash thought they were pancakes and happily ate them after I put a little syrup on his.
Combine in a cast iron skillet with carrots and parsnips (cut to about half the size fo french fries), 2 cloves of garlic (diced), sprinkle of parmesan chees, olive oil to coat and sea salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven at 425 for 20-25 minutes.
juice of 1 lime
1 avocado diced
1/2 onion diced
1 tomato sliced (I used a brigth red, wrinkly heirloom)
1 handful of parsley and cilantro each, chopped
1/2 chili, diced small
Just combine and add salt and pepper to taste with a dash of olive oil. Let the vegetables combine and the flavors will mix really well with each other in just a few minutes.
3 ears of corn, corn kernels removed
1 bunch of cilantro
1 cup flour
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp baking powder
sea salt and pepper
Combine the ingredients and blend until combined, but leave a little texture of the vegetables. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and use about 2 tbsps per fritter. Brown both sides lightly and serve.
Ryan said the fritters reminded of him of latkes because of how they were cooked. The edges get a little crispy but the inside is pillowy soft. These are savory but the corn adds a hint of sweetness. The chickpeas and roasted vegetables get super crunchy and, besides adding protein, they give a great texture contrast to the salsa. We rarely eat leftovers but the batter makes more than enough for the three of us and had this meal two days in a row. The salsa and batter stay very well overnight in the fridge. These were also a lot easier to make than pea pancakes because there were no vegetables to blanch, just mix and fry!
Avinash's verbal development has been a bit slow to say the least. He has always done so well with his milestones, but is behind most other babies we know when it comes to language.
He has a great understanding of language, and can follow simple commands in hindi, english and spanish. We are usually just telling him to hand us something, sit down, give us kisses or hugs, point out his facial features or limbs (he started to say eye when he pointed to his eye, but cannot name any other features), tickle us or to go to sleep. He pretty much always says no no to that last one. Most of his vocabulary so far has consisted of very basic words, like mama, dada, this/that, hi/bye, no no, etc. He also has a really cute 'whoa' that he says when he feels he came close to falling. It used to happen quite a bit, but he can catch himself pretty well now. I think the whoa helps him too.
His favorite book by far is Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton. She was also one of my favorite authors when I was growing up. My mom used to read her books to us every night and me and Anuj would just crack up every time we read Chloe and Maude. I have bought almost every other Sandra Boynton book for Avinash now, but I still can't find Chloe and Maude! I don't know why she doesn't do a reprint of this book.
Avinash has this whole book memorized and always does the animal noises. I need to make a video of him reading this now while is voice is so high and cute.
Still, Avinash could not say the words for many objects. He finally started to say wa-wa, which I think is a cross between water and agua. He also started to say ball. This usually refers to balloons not actual balls and started after he spent a few evenings at the car dealership playing with all of the balloons there.
Hopefully he will continue to make more progress.