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Archive for the ‘Foodie!’ Category

Berry Custard Cups


I tweaked a HG Girl recipe today and it was delicious. I don’t remember what this was called in the newsletters, but I kind of combined other stuff because the original one was too plain. Its a great, light dessert for summer!

Ingredients: JellO Sugar Free Fat Free Pudding Mix, fat free milk, cool whip free, blueberries, strawberries, apple butter, Athens fillo cups

Method: Make the JellO pudding according to the box. Its basically mixing it with 2 cups ff milk until it comes to a boil (you have to constantly stir it, or it’ll be lumpy!). Then let it cool, put it in the fridge. The Athens fillo cups come 15 to a box. Preheat oven to 350 F and heat them for 5-6 mins, or until browner. Take them out and allow to cool. 
In a bowl, mix 3 tbsp pudding with 2 tbsp cool whip free, kind of in a blend. Add in 1 cup blueberries and mix. Fill each cup to the brim and over (they’re small). I topped the center ones with apple butter from Central Market, and the others with just cut strawberries. If you need more whip, top each of it with reddi whip!

Enjoy! Takes about 15 minutes total to make, quick and easy and good!

Points calculation: Pudding for 1 serving, which is 1/4 of total, is 60 calories = 1pt. For the entire batch you use about 2-3 servings. Add 2 pts for the milk for the entire batch. 1 pt for blueberries. 3 cups = 1 pt. According to the WW recipe builder, each filled cup is only 1 point! 🙂

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(Wanted to save this recipe and this post I made for the WW community, so double posted it here)

I felt like eating Greek, and eating pizza, so today I kind of browsed around for a bunch of recipes and threw something together that was pretty yum, according to my mom. And it was filled with veggies and has a lot of room for customization (heck, i did!), so I thought I’d share it with everyone. Its a low point dinner, and can be lower too, and its super fast!

I didn’t take a picture, but next time I will :). This works for 5 pita pockets. Its my first time writing a recipe, so bear with the weird style!

Ingredients: Pita bread (I used Toufayan white pita pockets, 2 points for 2 halves), olives, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil leaves, spinach, feta cheese, mozzarella/parmesan cheese, tomatoes, crushed red pepper, oregano, garlic clove, tomato paste, and anything else you’d like to top your pizza with.

Method: Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray the pita pockets with olive oil cooking spray (0 points) and place in over for about 5 minutes. While its heating, in a seperate bowl, mix sliced olives (I used a total of 6 large ones), balsamic vinegar (2 tsps), oregano (to taste), crushed red pepper (to taste), and one minced garlic clove (or more if you’re into garlicky), and one teaspoon olive oil (you can skip that too if wanted), and lastly tomato paste (about as much as you’d like it to be tomatoey).

Smear this mix on the pita pockets. Now top with spinach, cut tomatoes, fresh chopped basil, and whatever else, about as much as each will take. Sprinkle some feta cheese on each (it was very little on each, maybe 1tsp), and if you want, sprinkle some mozzarella cheese (I used the weight watchers 2 points one, about 1 tsp on each).

Put it back in the oven for 5-8 minutes, or until cheese is all melted. 

Enjoy!!

WW Points calculation: 2 points for 2 pita pockets, 1 point for the olive oil, and depending on how much cheese you sprinkle on, those points can vary. Mine was about 2 points total. Olives, according to the point tracker, are 1 point for 6 large olives, and I ate about 2 so it works out to 0. Everything else is 0! So I’d say per serving of two pita pockets, you’d get 5 points. 

🙂 If anybody else has any suggestions to improve, do pass on!

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Not this post, ‘course. You can bet on that 😉

Sha La La, Full House OST

‘Coz how can you not listen to this and remember Song Hye Kyo posing around on her trip, and wish you could pose around and look as pretty on your trips?

Right after I made my first post about my recent trip, I planned to make another describing everything I didn’t in my mousy mood. Because it was also one of the best and most important event in my life, returning home after such a long time. Its something I’d wanted so much it hurt, and then when I was there it was suddenly so strange to be there, so unreal. Things usually hit me much later anyway…the cause and effect time line is somewhat skewed in my system…so for some time it was like I’d always been used to this. Hadn’t I? I had always jumped away from traffic threatening to run me over, walked while minding the potholes and sewage water, and tried to make my way through the crowds. I think, in essence, that was me getting used to being back to who I was. None of this was shocking, because I wasn’t a foreigner, it just took getting used to to get back in the rhythm.

The best part, of course, was to reconnect. Re-adjusting was part of the reconnecting, and I was surprised at how well I did. At one point, I managed to live without electricity, with mosquitoes, and in questionable hygienic situations, being sick all the while, without any signs of the reaction I would have expected. Eight years ago maybe it wouldn’t even be a matter of consideration, but I was still somewhat pleased with myself that I could adjust. However, re-connecting with the people was the best. Sure, we had our gaps, our moments of awkwardness or ‘um, now how do I move past this uncomfortable situation without treading on toes?’, but those were few and far between, and with very few people. Mostly, it felt like time had failed to create a rift between the people we cared for the most. Like my childhood bff, D, said, it was like no time had passed between us. Hadn’t we always laid around like this? Gossipped about old classmates? Discussed movies and food and the city and the torture of waxing, all in one conversation?

I won’t discuss the family part so much (this being a public blog and all), but enough is said to convey how beautiful it was to just see everyone we could, relive the memories, and just discuss and catch up on where we were. It wasn’t always perfect, and we didn’t get to see everyone (and managed to offend many, but isn’t that always how it goes? ;)), but it was good enough :). And of course, one of the most exciting parts of the trip, which will go undescribed, was the meeting of people you’d always wanted to meet, and welcoming in beautiful, new parts of the family.

And then there was just the sense of realizing I was back in my own country and appreciating that to the fullest. Where service and being served is just a given. It was strange to have people open doors, serve your food and water, do your laundry, having a waiter stand next to your table the entire time as you tried to hide your disconcernment and continue your casual conversation. It was strange to realize that you weren’t expected to cook, clean, do any of the chores you usually did (and yet there was so much to do, but thats different!). Some of it was difficult to get used to (esp the constant waiter! eek, i’ll serve myself!), but other stuff I was too happy to oblige with (you can guess which). It was relaxing, and it was kind of a reminder of how hard we work here. Its not marshmallow smores here…in fact, its more sweet and chocolatey when you have somebody doing all the mundane things so you can focus on the important things in life. Like shopping.

And shopping was…well, fun. Styles change with the flick of a celebrity’s wrist, but thats okay with me because everyone’s going to be out of style here 😉 After being embarassed (but refusing to be ashamed) after my outdated wardrobe at the wedding, I stocked up on suits and whatnots, and ran after and shouted and urged and pleased with tailors as they kept failing to get it right (I still don’t understand why…), and then finally did (and that was the really fun part). I didn’t get to shop as much as I wanted to (or ‘needed’ to), but shopping and getting stuff tailored is an experience in itself. Don’t miss it. And no matter what anyone tries to tell you: stuff isn’t really that expensive. Sure, prices have tripled, even quadrupled, from eight years ago, but if you know where to shop and if you know how not to act foreignerly (or if your skin gives you away, take someone brown in a sari ;)), because its the people who get phoreigned who lose out.

Touring? Who has time for that? Granted I’ve barely seen most of the country. I’ll say it outloud: I HAVEN’T SEEN THE TAJ MAHAL. There. But touring takes a back seat when everyone’s inviting you to dinner and feeding you and you’re trying to visit everybody so you can stay in their good books. Its a lillll bit difficult. I was lucky, however, to have excuses to be in a lot of different cities this time. And we did make a little byway to Mysore, the city of breathtaking temples and palaces. Just a sneak peek at a picture post I hope to make again later. And I’ll have to make a whole different pictures post for the fantastic trip I had with P’s AWESOME FAMILY 🙂 to Shivaji’s Fort in Pune. We had THE best time (probably the most fun I’ve had in ages), and we saw the most beautiful things…birds, flowers, the most beautiful sights of the rustic land…and had the yummiest fresh food under the shade of some trees. Yup, that was quite some day. (Thanks!)

Srirangapatnam:

At Srirangapatnam

Mysore Palace (probably THE most beautiful palace I’ve EVER seen. It was just astounding)

Have you said hello to Mahishisura?

The famous Chamundeshwari Temple

(The Goddess Chamundi killed the wicked Mahishisura Rakshas (lovely pic above). The temple is in the Chamundi Hills)

The Goddess herself. Women (and Goddess) Power!

Last, but oh definitely not the least (how can it ever be the least), THE FOOD! Which is what everyone goes home for. Every foreigner. No matter what they tell you. Because can you get the same taste at any restaurant in the world? Can you get the same tandoori chicken, the same sweet corn soup, the same aloo tikki, the same saag and makki roti, the same peda and phetha and laddoo and gulabjamun? And the uncle chips, pudina flavor, which you’ve loved since you were about three? Can you get fed with the same love, care, pressurizing? Can you be filled to bursting point each meal, and then be offered some chai? Where else will your didi feed you sabji-roti with her hands, and where else will you eat the juiciest, sweetest, red carrots? Where else can mausis make your favorite foods and sweets and you almost cry because its just all so good and yummy and touching.

Now I’m hungry, and nostalgic and sad. And I didn’t take any pictures of the food. Oh darn.

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I really don’t mean to have only picture posts, and I have a lot to write about, but being wickedly sick and sounding like Squeaky McSqueak doesn’t leave much energy for the computer (my cold turned into a chest cough which evolved into laryngitis-whee!). Hopefully later I’ll be able to write more about what I’ve done (apart from sitting on an armchair covered with a blanket and whining a whole lot in front of the tv, using hundreds of tissues ;)).

But even while being sick prevents me from venturing outside much, the foodie in me keeps me delighted (once the appetite returned). Christmas Eve is the biggest night in Poland, and we had a wonderful Polish dinner (after which we opened many, many presents!), and Christmas Day we repeated the exercise at K’s parents’ house in Poznan. It was all wonderful. Not only did I have a variety of delicious dishes, but I loved observing the cultural uniqueness of Christmas here in Poland. Especially since this is a largely Roman Catholic country and has its own traditions and customs that I have never seen before. We also managed to go to midnight mass at two different churches (hopefully my touristy-ness did not upset too many people!), which was fascinating also (and two BEAUTIFUL churches in Poznan, one from 1148 A.D. which was absolutely incredible, I hope to go back in the daytime).

Anyway, since I am running out of fuel, and I can begin to feel the ache and fatigue of my throat and vocal cords (its actually not all that bad..anymore..but ive always loved being dramatic ;)), I will end here and leave you with pictures, and the names of the dishes we ate (which K has to help me with because there is no way I can remember them. Or spell them).

I hope everyone has had a wonderful, merry christmas! 🙂

This is the table set for dinner…A’s mom did EVERYTHING. K and I couldn’t even help much, on account of the sickness. She’s amazing. 🙂

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Mushroom soup (zupa grzybowa), Panga fish (baked), corn, pork (pieczen wieprzowa) with meat-grain stuffing (kasza z miesem).

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Rolls (pyzy), potato-vegetable salad (salatka jarzynowa), sauerkraut and mushroom pates, curry eggs, bread, poppy seed and bread dessert (makielki), dried fruit compote (kompot z suszu).

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Yum yum! 🙂

At K’s parents house. Pierogis (with cottage cheese, potatoes and onions), mashed potatoes with butter, pork roll with kielbasa and cheese (zrazy), pate with sauerkraut and mushroom.

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Dessert! Homemade cheesecake (sooo good), poppy seed bread, small cakes and gingerbread cookies…oh it was all so good.

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Raspberry cheesecake!

cheesecake

Okay….tea time for my throat. 🙂

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Dzien Dobry! (Good day to you in Polish)

I reached Poland after a long, long trip, being sweaty, filthy and smelly by the end of the last leg. I had myself originally planned it that way so I’d see bits of other countries and their people from the airports, but I had forgotten that Iceland has six months of darkness in the winter, and even by the time I reached Copenhagen it as all dark. So it didn’t exactly work out as planned, and I was running to catch my plane at each airport, but in the end it was okay. It was an interesting journey, well worth it, and it made me so, so delighted to see K’s face at the Warsaw airport.

Poland is a very interesting country, so far. Puszsczykowo is a very small, quaint little town (about 9000 people?), with small little shops and little unique parts. There is a small bakery with such DELICIOUS cakes and donuts and yum pastries that I wanted to eat it all. We only tried the polish donuts (rum filled, yum) and a custard pastry which was also very good. Polish sweets are not as sweet as American cakes and pastries, and everything was so fresh here, and beautifully iced and decorated…mmmm.

We went to a beautiful church yesterday, very Roman Catholic, with lovely stained glass and figurines. To get there, we took a walk through a forest that reminded me of the forest in The Village (not in a scary way). All the trees were green with moss, and everything was damp and green everywhere. We didn’t see any animals, but K said there are deer and foxes and wild pigs, and squirrels that are so flitsy no one has ever seen one!

We also went to Poznan yesterday evening, the big city. Poznan is a beautiful city. The city square has buildings from the 16-17th century (wow!), that are used as apartments or for other purposes, and are very well preserved. There are stones in the grounds that are 5-6 centuries old. Yesterday there was some kind of artist’s fair going on, so there were all kinds of little bright stalls everywhere. And a series of beautiful ice sculptures (very pretty!). The town was very alive, buzzing with life and talk, like any big city, except it had the old-worldly charm to it…like Ottawa, in that sense. There are sweet narrow roads paved with stone, with fancy shops lining them (H&M, Samsonite, etc). There are elegant coffee shops (NO Starbucks anywhere! Its a miracle! We had a cardamom chocolate at the Cafe Nescafe…yum…and they use real heavy cream here, not the sugary whipped cream). We walked to a HUGE mall, which K said has developed in the last two years to be really amazing and big. There are name brand stores, and some small ones too, but its very Galleria. Its decorated with these random pieces of modern art, which gives it a very cool, un-mall like look. There was this one freaky anime character right in the center of the top floor, totally out of place! There’s also an art gallery that you can just walk in, and this beautiful walkway with lots and lots of lights (and an American restaurant called ‘Rodeo’ heehee). Definitely an interesting place.

From there we walked around the square and through a permanent farmer’s market to K’s parents’ aparment. Her family is wonderful, very kind and cheerful, and despite the language barrier I felt very comfortable. A’s mom, who I’m staying with, is fluent in English (and teaches English classes) and she is a wonderful woman, very kind, elegant and lovely to talk to. I’ve been enjoying staying here. The house is very, very old and extremely beautiful, filled with antiques and exquisite designs. Its very European in design. I have a sweet little guest bedroom, and it has a cabinet with a sink! I’ve never seen that. A’s mom has decorated everything beautifully and she has also refinished and restored a lot of the furniture and design. Its an impressive house.

K’s mom served us some bean soup (with potatoes and carrots) and some home-made chicken broth (cooked with leeks and carrots and other veggies). It was very nice, comforting food, warm after a long day in the cold. The cold here is very damp, its late fall K says, and it rains a lot in November. It has been gray the entire time, and I hope it brightens up soon. The weather and the cold is similar to Doon, I think, atleast in Nov/Dec. Very damp that’ll go to your bones, and a little dreary weatherwise, but not as cold (definitely not as cold) as Massachusetts! MA takes the cake for being much colder than Poland! K says its not always this gray, so hopefully I’ll get to have some sunny days here too!

That’s essentially been everything so far 🙂 I think I’m a little under the weather so now I will retire to my room (taking an off day today) and stay cozy in the feather-filled comforter (its SO warm!) with a book. Speaking of which…did anyone know that Masoom is blatantly, shamelessly ‘inspired’ from Erich Segal’s Man, Woman and Child? So much so that even the dialogue is similar (the chitter-chatter between the girls, the mother’s coldness towards the little boy (played so well by Shabana Azmi and Jugal Hansraj), the way he tells his wife…all of it!)?? Very interesting….

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Such pretty food!

Yesterday I embarked onto completely foreign grounds. It was a bold move, very alien to me but one that I’m trying to be more comfortable with. As much as I love food, I’m not an adventurer when it comes to trying strange recipes. And I always stay away from uncooked food (the biologist in me freaks out!). Yet, recently, I’ve been somewhat adventurous in general, living sort of carpe diem during my last term here. More than that, I’ve started thinking I should begin to prepare myself for my upcoming travels and a year abroad in a completely foreign land. I can’t predict what I’ll be faced with, but I’d rather not chicken out and miss out on something great (as I sometimes do) in my apprehension or hesitation to be uncomfortable. In terms for food, I’d like to also make sure I can face strange, foreign food appropriately. I’m not used to being on this side. I’ve always been the foreigner introducing my food to people…but now I’m off to a completely different culture and I need to learn how to be the “non-obnoxious, idiotic typical tourist.”

And so I ventured into a sushi bar for a dinner with my beloved friends who ordered everything for me (it was like a foreign language as far as I was concerned: tori-tori? makai?). I was more than grateful for their admirable experience. My first venture, and left to my own devices I’d probably manage to have a completely opposite, terrible experience. 

Loved the place. It was pretty upscale, cozy, with low-lights, nice decoration and great music. It was perfect for a small intimate dinner and we had a blast. Probably the most money I’ve spent on dinner out, but definitely worth the experience.

(Click on the thumbnails for a larger view)

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Oyster shooters. I liked it, but too quick a gulp to know how much. Hint of wasabi, lemon juice, hot sauce, some other neat ingredients.

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The Salad Sampler. All cooked stuff. I believe its crab, spicy tuna and lobster. Loved the crab…it had a great sauce and cucumber. Lobster was yum too, and it was on top of this mango salsa.

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Sushi! I can’t name them (shamefully). The red sparkly tiny balls-wrapped in seaweed was fascinating to me. My favorite was the one topped with caviar and the yellow sauce. Btw, I love those pickled ginger strips…sooo good! I can just eat a load of it by itself!

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More sushi! The left is eel-based. Interesting flavor. Not sure how I feel about it yet. Thats the thing about sushi, its such a small amount usually and goes in so fast that you can’t really decide how much you care for it. Sushi wraps on the right were called peacock, I believe. Those were pretty good. Had this breaded covering that gave it a nice touch.

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Ginger chicken, the final item of the day. I loved the rice and the veggies, chicken could have been better.

(Four of us shared each of the dishes, no gluttony involved ;))

Overall, my first adventure into the sushi-world was fairly successful. I wouldn’t say I became a die-hard fan, but I liked it enough to venture out without hesitation next time someone suggests it. Maybe even try to read the menu. Ordering something by myself would require more experience and courage ;). But I want to take my momma out to some place like this…she’d love it…so I need to learn some sushi-lingo.

I had a great time, ‘course, because nothing ever beats some good friends and good conversation, with plenty of laughter on the side. Its my idea of the perfect night 🙂

Check out Baba Sushi in Worcester, MA. I recommend giving this place a shot for a fancy (and expensive) dinner, when you’re in the mood for something completely different.

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