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  • Autism Speaks… Story of a mother's tryst with Autism

    April 2, 2013

  • So-Saree's One year of Blogging - A Journey Back in Time

    January 9, 2014

  • Nikhil Thampi Love Through Nail Art

    January 27, 2014

  • Saree Style Tips from the Royalty Rajmata Gayatri Devi

    March 4, 2014

  • Life's Lessons The Intriguing Case of Jiah Khan’s Suicide

    June 13, 2013

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Monday, 15 October 2018

Navratri 2018 - Day 6 - White

The color whiteis the most positive colorof all. It is associated with purity, light, heaven, cleanliness, spirituality and perfection. As humans, we tend to typically portray the good guy in white and the bad guy in black. That’s the significance of the color white.
When it comes to food, we believe in eating the colors of rainbow. White foods are generally considered unhealthy because most refined and processed foods are white in color, like sugar, bread, rice, white flour etc. But the fact is there are many white foods that are good for our health.White foods contain nutrients that we need in our diets like anthoxanthins which help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and sulfur which detoxifies our liver and help with protein structure and skin health. White foods like cauliflower, cabbage, beans, onions, garlic, mushrooms, tofu are very healthy and can be easily included in our daily diet.
On day 6 of Navratri I decided to make a cauliflower preparation which I recently learnt to make and immediately became a fan. It’s healthy, it’s easy to make and can be easily paired with any other food you like. I made Cauliflower rice with pan-seared tofu and cottage cheese. (Tofu is the vegan option)



Ingredients:
2tbsp. olive oil
½ Cauliflower head
2 cloves garlic, minced or garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. fresh parsley
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
100 gms tofu/paneer

Recipe:

1. To make the cauliflower into rice: Chop the cauliflower into florets, then place the cauliflower (in 3 or 4 batches) in a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower is small and has the texture of rice. Do not over process it, you don’t want it to be mushy.
2. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray the baking sheet with oil. Combine the riced cauliflower, olive oil, garlic and salt on the prepared sheet, spread out in a thin single layer and roast in the oven for 15 -20 minutes.


3. Remove from oven, top with fresh lemon juice and parsley and mix it well.
4. Pat the tofu/paneer dry with paper towels to remove excess water. Cut into 1/2-inch slices.
5. Heat a large pan over high heat. Add oil and after the oil is hot, carefully add the tofu/paneer into a single layer.


6. Sprinkle salt, pepper and chili powder.
7. Sear each side for 1-2 minutes, or until sides are golden and crisp.




And
this is my White outfit. Hope you like it.




-SOnali
 For So-Saree Canada

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Navratri 2018 - Day 5 - Orange

Orange is the color associated with warmth, fire and energy. In Asia it is an important symbolic color of Buddhism and Hinduism. For me it’s the color of the current season, fall!
Every color is rich in specific nutrients that help make a well-balanced diet. The nutrient that is available in orange food is the antioxidant beta-carotene, which also helps support healthy skin, hair and vision. It’s important to make sure to have some orange on your plate each day. The yellow color in citrus fruits doesn’t contain a lot of beta-carotene, but is instead loaded with another antioxidant, vitamin C which also helps fight infection. While there are variety of orange foods available in the market I decided to go with the ultra-nutritious and versatile (to cook) Butternut Squash. It’s rich in potassium, fiber and vitamin A. It also protects your skin, keeps the bones strong and aids in weight loss. To save time I bought a pack of peeled and diced butternut squash. Since there was a lot and I wanted to make 2 dishes. So I made a Simple Roasted side dish and a curried soup.



Ingredients
:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced or garlic powder
Half onion chopped
Few carrots chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Cheese and parsley for garnishing



Recipe for the side dish:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Toss butternut squash, onions and carrots with olive oil and garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and black pepper.
3. Arrange coated squash on a baking sheet.
4. Roast in the preheated oven until squash is tender and lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. (use a fork to check if the squash is soft and cooked)
5. Plate the squash and garnish with cheese and parsley


Recipe for the soup:
1. Roast squash, carrots and onions as noted above
2. Let them cool and then blend it until smooth. Use vegetable broth to attain the desired consistency
3. Season with more salt and pepper (if necessary)
4. Garnish with cheese and parsley when serving


And here's my Orange outfit.




-SOnali 
 For So-Saree Canada

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Navatri 2018 - Day 4 - Grey

Grey is a neutral color, it’s a blend between black and white. It doesn’t mean anything or signify much. Some call it neutral, balanced and sophisticated while some associate it with dullness, dirt or depression. When it comes to naturally grey colored vegetarian food (coz it’s Navratri) there is hardly I can think of. After a lot of brainstorming I only came up with is the insides of eggplant.But I decided to go with an ingredient which turns grey after its been cooked. Can you guess what is it??
I’m talking about Tapioca peals/Sago seeds. A preparation called as Sabudana khichdi is typically made in India during fasting days like Navratri, Mahashivratri or Ganpati. The calcium, iron and vitamin K in tapioca make it a super food that keeps you charged up and free of fatigue throughout the day. Another health benefit of sabudana is the fact that its potassium content keeps your blood pressure under control which is vital during fasting.
Sabudana khichdi was a regular at my home since childhood. My parents were religious and would fast every Tuesday. I loved the khichdi my mom and learnt how to make it from before I moved out. For the last many years I have been fasting on Thursdays, so the family tradition of fasting and making khichdi has been alive.


Tapioca / Sago seeds khichdi: (also called Sabudana khichdi)

Ingredients:
·          cup sabudana, sago/tapioca pearls
·         1 cup water for soaking the seeds
·         1 tbsp. ghee/clarified butter
·         1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
·         1 medium potato, boiled and diced
·         3 to 4 tbsp. roastedand crushed peanuts
·         1-2 green chili, chopped, adjust to taste
·         6-7 curry leaves
·         1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
·         coriander and wet coconut for garnishing (optional)

      Recipe:

Because this is recipe for a fasting snack, it does not involve spices or other vegetables (potato can be consumed during fasting)

1. Rinse and soak sabudana a bowl with 1 cup water just enough to immerse the seeds completely. Do this overnight.
2. In the morning, the sabudana would have soaked up all the water. Drain any excess water.
3. Heat ghee in a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for few seconds, then add chopped chilies and curry leaves. Fry for a minute.
4. Then add diced potatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes stirring often until potatoes are almost cooked.
5. Add the soaked up sabudana seeds and stir well.
6. Lastly add crushed peanuts, salt and mix well. Cook until sabudana seeds become soft translucent or grey, stirring continuously. If sabudana is overcooked the seeds start becoming white and hard.
7. Remove pan from heat. Garnish with coriander and wet coconut.



8Serve and enjoy with with chilled yogurt.

And here's my Grey Outfit.

-SOnali
For So-Saree Canada

Friday, 12 October 2018

Navratri 2018 - Day 3 - Green

Green is the color of nature which also symbolizes peace, freshness, safety and environment. Green foods are powerful antioxidants that protects human body from toxins. They are also rich in chlorophyll, a green pigment that also acts as a detox agent in the body. Green fruits and vegetables are loaded with minerals like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium, folate, fiber etc. Basically including greens in your daily diet can go a long way for your health. I love all kinds of green vegetables and fruits but I find it challenging to add it to my daily diet. I’m trying to change this by adding small portions of spinach and kale in my smoothies, adding broccoli and avocado in salads, I also sometimes snack on baby cucumbers and celery. These are baby steps towards attaining a healthy and well-balanced diet. So when it came to picking a dish for green day, I went with my 2 favorite greens – Spinach and Broccoli.
To make one dish out of the 2 ingredients, I decided on Spinach and Broccoli Soup:

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups spinach
Half medium sized broccoli
2 garlic cloves chopped
Half Onion roughly chopped
Vegetable broth
Salt to taste

Recipe (for 2 servings):
Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a pot
Add in the chopped garlic cloves, sauté for 1 minute
Add chopped onions and cook for 2 minutes
Toss in the broccoli, I add salt at this point which helps the broccoli to cook faster.Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat
Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add the spinach, remove from heat and let the soup cool. Add mixture to the blender and pulse until thick and smooth.
Soup is ready at this point, pour into bowls and serve immediately.
Variation:  You can add cream or Greek yoghurt to give the soup a creamy texture and taste. I added some leftover sweet corn to add a bite to the soup.
And here's my green outfit. Hope you like it.


-SOnali
  For So-Saree Canada

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Navratri 2018 - Day 2 - Yellow

Yellow is one of my favorite colors but it’s only now that I found out, yellow foods contain nutrients like beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C among many others. These nutrients do a number of things, some of which are reducing age-related degeneration, the risk of prostate cancer, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, assisting in detoxification and encouraging a healthy alkaline balance. I read somewhere one of the 5 yellow foods one needs to eat to save our gut is Sweet Corn. Therefore, on the second day of Navratri which is associated with the color yellow I decided to make a preparation using sweet corn taught by mom. There’s no assigned name to this dish so I just call it Mom’s style Sweet Corn.

Sweet Corn - Mom’s style
Yellow corn has more nutrient value than white. It’s an excellent source of dietary fiber, loaded with vitamins B1 and B5, vitamin C, manganese among many others. ½ a cup of corn has about 75 calories and two grams of protein and almost four grams of fiber.
The ingredients of my preparation are:
1.    Olive Oil – 1 tsp
2.    Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
3.    Curry Leaves – few (optional)
4.    Green Chilly – to taste, chopped
5.    Onions
6.    2 Cups Sweet Corn
7.    Crushed peanuts
8.    Salt – to taste
9.    Lemon Juice – to taste
10.    Cilantro (Coriander) – few chopped

Although the list of ingredients is a bit long, the preparation time is less than 20 mins with all ingredients ready.
1. Heat oil in a non-stick pan
2. When oil is hot enough, add cumin seeds, curry leaves, green chilies and mix
3. Add chopped onions and sauté until light brown
4. Add salt mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in between to prevent sticking
5. Add crushed peanut mix again and cook for another 5 minutes
6. Remove pan from heat, add lemon juice, coriander and mix

Main ingredient:


Final dish!


And my yellow outfits:
 

Hope you guys are having fun this Navratri!
Jai Mata Di!

-SOnali
  For So-Saree Canada

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Navratri 2018 - Day1 - Royal Blue

It’s that time of the year again when colors bring a whole new meaning to our mundane lives, they’re associated with good luck and considered sacred during these nine days. Yes, it’s Navratri, one of the biggest festivals celebrated in India with great devotion and passion.
According to mythology, 9 days of Navratri are devoted to different forms of Goddess Durga and is denoted by nine colors.

Where I grew up, people followed the pattern of wearing specific colors during the 9 days of Navratri. I also believed in the idea that if I wore the color associated to the day it will bring good luck. But in the hindsight, I didn’t care if it really brought me luck, I think it was my way of worshiping the goddess and celebrating the festival. It just brought me happiness.

Last year was my first Navratri celebration in Canada and I followed the tradition of wearing the 9 colors of Navratri at work. Checkout the post here.

This year too, I’m going to try and keep the tradition alive but I’m going to do something more. I’m going to add the color dynamic to my food :). I cook at least one of my daily meals at home, I’m going to try to use natural ingredients of the color associated to the day to make at least one meal a day either breakfast, snack or dinner; simple and healthy. I’m going to share the pictures of the food I make and the recipes on the blog every day.

This year Navratri starts on Wednesday, October 10th 2018 and will be celebrated until Thursday, October 18th 2018, so stay tuned…

The nine colors of Navratri 2018 are as follows:
Day 1: Royal Blue
Day 2: Yellow
Day 3: Green
Day 4: Grey
Day 5: Orange
Day 6: White
Day 7: Red
Day 8: Sky Blue
Day 9: Pink

Day 1:
Royal blue is associated with superiority; to me it symbolizes reliability and trustworthiness like any other blue color.Blue colored foods are also very nutritious and loaded with antioxidants which are great for the immunity of our body. Unfortunately, they’re difficult to find in our daily diet and just because of lack of availability of many options around me, the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about blue food are blueberries. So, I decided to make a healthy Blueberry Oatmeal Smoothie.

With just 4 ingredients this healthy and satisfying drink is quick to make and is loaded with goodness of protein and fiber.
  1. 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  2. 1/4 cup rolled organic oats
  3. 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  4. 1/2 cup almond milk
Just blend everything together in a blender and the drink is ready. The above ingredients are what I used for my drink but you could replace it with different flavors or keep it original. Additional ingredients like frozen/fresh bananas and peanut butter could be added to make it more interesting. I find the above 4 ingredients work well for me so I like to keep it simple.
Main Ingredients:

    
And the drink!


That’s me in a royal blue outfit drinking my power drink ;)

And for the first day enthusiasm, also in a royal blue traditional attire.


Hope you guys, enjoyed reading the post. How are you celebrating Navratri? Let me know in the comments below.

-SOnali 
 Foe So-Saree Canada

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Ishanvi - The Story behind our Daughter's Name

Hey everyone. Thank you for all the love and comments on my last post. It really means a lot.
I am writing today's post because I don't want to forget how we picked our daughter's name. After a lot of arguments, we picked the name Ishanvi for our daughter.
But how did we finalize it?...Scroll down if you really want to know.


All my life, I have loved the idea of naming a person. The fact that you get to choose a name that will be associated with an entity throughout their life,
really fascinated me. I have suggested names for my cousin's babies and even pets.
For the longest time, I wanted to have a pet dog, because I want to name him Ranveer.
In fact I have even named my soft toys. One was Samrat, the other one Vikramaditya and the third one was called Aasma.
Yup...I was that crazy.

SO,the bottom line is, I wanted a baby of my own so that I could name him/her.
But when the time came to name our baby..the story was completely different, because
a) the father of the child had similar dreams like me..n wanted to name her too.
b) my postpartum blues were at its peak, which made me feel that my husband was totally unfair and mean for wanting to name our baby.

The story goes like this, even before we knew if I was having a girl or boy, I had decided that if I have a girl, I would name her Ira.
Fast forward to our baby's delivery day. The moment my husband picks our baby in his arms, he announces, he wants to name her Khushi; because holding her in his arms had filled him up with so much joy and happiness.
You would think...Awww...!
But I was thinking...WHATTTT???
KHUSHI? NOOOOOOO..!

I clearly told him..that's not happening. And he said...we will talk about it later.
After a few days when I came home, the feeling actually started sinking in. We had to finalize a name for our baby sooner or later.

Since I was staying at my parent's home after my delivery, every day when my husband came over to meet us, we had arguments.
I hated Khushi and he hated Ira.
He didn't like the names that I liked and vice versa.

Traditionally as per our family culture, we name the baby on the 12th day of her birth. So after discussing for almost 10 days, going back and forth, husband and I decided that we will name our baby Raahii....meaning traveler/explorer.

I really liked the name and started dreaming of our baby traveling and exploring the world. So, this was two days, before the official naming ceremony, and exactly on the same day, an American colleague from work emails my husband asking him, if we had picked a name for our baby, and my husband replied that we were still thinking over it.

And this is what he replied...
"OK..make sure the name embodies Beauty, Courage and Strength!"

After reading it, my husband called me instantly and said we have to rethink the name that we decided for our baby. When he forwarded me the email, my reaction was...OMG! That is so profound and thoughtful.
I have always believed that the name of a person, plays a huge role in shaping their personality. And I really want my daughter to be strong, brave, independent and dependable.
And so, we put on our thinking caps again.
One Indian Goddess that really embodies all these qualities is Goddess Parvati/Durga.
So we started looking for names of Goddess Parvati/Durga and stumbled upon Ishanvi.
We took less than 10 minutes to finalize it. And the rest is history.

I hope Ishanvi, our daughter loves her name more, after she hears this story.

 

This is our baby's naming story. Tell me about yours.

 

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