Sunday, September 25, 2011

lemony herbed salmon

The weather is getting a little chilly here in NYC and there is nothing like a bit of fish to warm you up...
and if its salmon then there is nothing to beat it!
I tried a new kind of salmon dish yesterday, inspired from the Weight Watchers cookbook but mainly because I didnt have many of the ingredients and also because I had to have fish last night...I improvised
and it came out yummyyy!!
All fishes go well with lemon but salmon goes really well...
Salmon's own slightly salty taste compliments the tartness of lemon rather nicely.
I have used salmon-but you can try it with any other fish that you can get yr hands on.
I am sure it will come out great!

1 cup fresh bread crumbs (about 2 slices)
grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. of dried oregano (I also added a pinch of dried paprika to add a bit of oomph)
sprinkle of garlic salt (optional- if you dont have it)
1/4 cup of fat free sour cream
2 tsp Dijon mustard (i didnt have dijon mustard so i just added the normal mustard sauce)
4 (5 ounce) salmon fillets
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (freshly crushed)
1 lemon sliced thinly into rounds.

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray shallow baking dish pan with olive oil non stick spray.
(for my friends back home in India, you can also shallow fry the fish in very little olive oil.
Just pour a little on a hot pan and swirl to coat the pan.
and follow the same steps but on the frying pan on medium heat.)
  • Stir together breadcrumbs and a bit of garlic salt and oregano.
  • Mix sour cream,mustard, lemon zest and juice in a cup.
  • Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper
  • Brush the sour cream mixture on top of salmon to coat well.
  • Layer the baking dish with the lemon slices first and then place the salmon on top. (do the same in the shallow frying pan)
  • Top evenly with the bread crumbs mixture and spray with the cooking spray.
  • Put the dish in the oven and bake until the bread mixture is golden and the fish is just opaque in the centre, about 10-15 minutes.
  • If cooking in the frying pan you will have to turn the fish carefully after 10 minutes or so, so that it cooks on the other side as well.

I served my fish with blanched broccoli and carrots (love my veggies) along with french fries (son's request) and garlic bread!
oh yes the sour cream mixture thats left can be slathered on top of the fish on your plate to moisten the salmon some more and to increase the yummy lemony flavour!
heres hoping you try it soon and do let me know how it turned out...

For more tried and tasted and slurrped over recipes, please click here

Thursday, September 22, 2011

good bye summer!

image via google
There is a slight chill in the air...
The sun is not so bright fact it has been raining cats and dogs the whole of last week so the sun is really a welcome sight!
Bright yellow and orange leaves are slowly finding thier way to the ground and people are actually being seen in clothes other than shorts and strapless teenie tiny dresses!
Light jackets and trousers are out..people are airing thier woollens....
Labour Day weekend has come and gone...schools have all opened (thank god!!!)
and so summer is officially over!
This is what I love about living here...the seasons are so very loudly announced and celebrated!
Oh back home in India, we do have winter and spring and and summer (HOT summer) but I dont think we have much of an autumn in India...and the landscape and the mood of the country really doesnt change sooooo dramatically with each season like it does here in the Big Apple of America!
When we first came here in mid was winter...
the landscape was barren and slushy with all the melted and melting snow...the trees were bare and not a single green leaf or grass was in sight...

People were muffled up and heavy, mostly dull (browns,blacks,gray) jackets were out with maybe a sighting of a rebellious pink or yellow jacket or muffler, somewhere!
People in nice boots-leather, suede, woollen,faux leather,fur lined (oh how I love boots) were everywhere...
The sky was usually an ominous grey with hailstorms and light drizzle a common phenomena...
people stayed indoors...had hot soup and comfort food and usually put on weight!  :-)
....And then spring tiptoed in...
the whole mood changed!!!
One could actually see the buds and the leaves sprouting on every tree...
it took time for the trees to become green and fill out...
But within a couple of months there were flowers everywhere...the chill was still there in the air but the landscape had turned beautiful!
Everyone had started shedding thier heavy outer clothes and a bit of color comes back...
and a host of events were taking place.... and celebrations start slowly and steadily....
One is the St Patrick's Day parade (which is an Irish festival)  and is celebrated with a lot of gusto all over America...
We saw the parade this year, wore green to celebrate and reaally enjoyed ourselves!
then comes Easter which of course is celebrated all over the world,
but the one day that actually announces the arrival of Spring, is May Day!
Lots of flowers and dancing around the May-pole along with having a May Day Queen is all part of the celebration... we saw it celebrated with a lot of fanfare in our son's school.
....And then suddenly before you know it....its summer time!!!
and summer doesnt tiptoe in like spring...its shouted and announced from the roof tops and reaally celebrated in a big way!
The summer here in America, as like all the other seasons, officially starts with the long weekend of Memorial Day weekend(the last weekend of May)
The day gets reeeeaaaally long and on top of that, we were stumped one day to see that all the digital clocks were showing to be one hour behind and the watches on our hands were one hour ahead...
I think the whole day we were puzzled as to how could we be reaching everywhere on time if the clocks dont match... when we were told by our american friends that the digital clock are tuned to change in the summer to increase the daylight time...
Its called Daylight Saving Time, which is the practice of advancing clocks during the summertime so that the afternoons have more daylight and mornings have less...
Adding daylight to afternoons were to benefit retailing,sports and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours! 
didnt really understand the whole concept but I guess it must be having its benefits!
then came the summer hoopla everywhere...
Clothes became the brighter, the shorter, the lesser, the better!!
it was actually like the butterflies coming out of thier cacoons...
The whole transformation of the landscape, the mood, the whole vibe was just amazing to watch!
Everywhere, in all the media, there were advertisements on how to lose weight in two weeks so you can fit into the tiniest of bikinis and reaally embrace the summer of America!
there were fairs and festivals and shows and most parks had thier sprinklers on...
and the kids had three whole months of holidays!!!
c'mon THREE MONTHS?? how do the parents do it? but then there are summer camps galore who mint thousands of dollars on just these three months of holidays.
parents want the kids busy-kids themselves want to be you have them rushing from karate to swimming classes to craft classes to camping to hiking.....whew!!
how do they do it??
but while summer lasted-it was fun!!
and thats the whole adventure of being here...these Americans know how to have fun!!
and we are getting into the groove of things....we are.... and loving every minute of it!
and now that summer is officially over(like I said-again with a long weekend-the labour day weekend)
our boots are out...woollens are being aired and comfy warm clothes are being sorted-what to keep and what to give away!
and we are welcoming autumn with wide open arms...
and how??  there are pumpkins and pumpkins everywhere.....and colors of orange and rust, yellow are the theme colors of autumn....
halloween fever is on and thanksgiving holidays are just around the corner....yaaaaay!!!
its fun time again...(does the excitement never stop??)
there is always something new to look forward to and I hope you can share my wide eyed excitement!!
here are some images of various styles of pumpkins that i have seen in malls and all over the internet...
some are just absolutely amazing in their innovativeness....enjoy!!
beautifully painted or carved pumpkins to become spooky cats, lanterns, flower vases or just to brighten up the hallway!!

 these are more halloween styled pumpkins...amazing ideas!!  btw-the owl is also a part of the halloween feel!

 hahahha....pumpkin in all its creative candle holders, bird feeders, t-light holders, even doubling up as an ice bucket, pumpkin paper lanterns, flower pumpkins,wool pumpkins, even stuffed pepper pumpkin-can you beat that??

i am trying my hand at some crafty pumpkin and fall ideas...gimme a few days and I will hopefully have something crafty to put up!! till then enjoy the festive season...whether its Halloween and Thanksgiving here in america or Dussehra and Diwali back home in India!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

back to SCHOOOOOL!!

Oooooh I have been waiting for this the entire three whole months of summer holidays....
The first day when there is complete silence in the house....
no screaming-yelling-crying-fighting-"momma this and momma that!!".....and I can put my feet up and sip the long awaited cup of nicely brewed tea...take in the aroma..close my eyes and sigh!!!
Both my devils at school-what bliss!
But the first day didnt really turn out quite like that...
Though my little one was super excited about actually having a tiny school bag of his own...walking down with me to school-skipping excitedly along the way...pointing at each tree and every passing car!
but he didnt really count on his mom actually leaving him and going....
I didnt count on my heart squeezing itself so tight as I turned to go and saw the surprise and hurt in his eyes as they met mine...
In that little nano second we relived all that we had shared together in the two and a half years and I made an involuntary move to grab him and run!!
didnt want him to go to school... not yet...wasn't he too small? wasn't I being too pushy? should I just pick him up and run for our lives???
but then the magic second passed and the teacher lifted him up and tried to distract his howling and gestured silently for me to leave...
I couldnt...
I waited outside the glass door of the classroom....hoping to catch a glimpse of him ...wanting him to see me...trying to call out to him but the lump in my throat was too big.....
and wanting him to start crying again so I could see that he missed me...
that he hadn't forgotten me so soon and that the cars and the trains that he was playing with were not replacing me....
I eventually stopped peeping after getting a few silent gestures from the teacher-but I couldnt go home that first day....
the house seemed too empty if you know what I mean?
the silence too overwhelming and that aimlessly wandering in the nearby mall for two hours was a better option till I could see my little devil again!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

the dream home :-)

I have lived in a hostel all my life..shared a dormitory with 100 other girls when in school,
shared a room with 5 girls when in college,and shared a flat with 2 friends when working...
So it was but natural that I was craving for a place to call my own...I used to go to my ancestral farm on vacations and insist on having a room all to myself (at least here-please!!!)
not wanting to share even an inch of space with my five other siblings...and it helped that I was the eldest-hahaha...could have my way most of the time :-)
but I always dreamed that I would one day live in a tiny fairytale cottage (not a mansion, mind you-I am a girl of simple dreams,heheheh) after I got married or when I earned my own home(whichever came first)...
I would have my own little green patch that will be bursting at the seams with flowers and arty nick nacks...
It would be near a serene lake/pond that will have lovely ducks and swans and pretty butterflies and birds. and oh yes a weeping willow on the banks with lavender colored flowers...
(I am quite specific with details as you can see )
the cottage would be like the pictures that you find in most fairy tales with a rocky facade covered with ivy, chimney with the smoke curling up lazily...a lovely arching gateway to the front garden, covered with wild pink climbing rose...aaaaah!
A gravel or a zig-zagging stone pathway leading up to the front brightly colored door...or an elevated porch with hanging baskets dripping with vibrant colors...
The front door will even have a brass knocker  :-)
You can see I go into extreme details.
The cottage would have a tiled terracotta roof-half of with will be covered with climbing plants and flowers and knowing my country-bouginvilla sounds like a safe bet!
And now that I have children...there will be big trees in the backyard where they can have a swing hanging down from the sturdy branches-moving lazily in the breeze.
Maybe a tiny tree house??? (I am getting a little too ambitious in my dream world)
ok, then what about a tiny shed that my children can call a castle???
AND then I got married to an army officer and poooof! went my dream of putting down my roots became more like uprooting your roots every six months on an average!
Not that I am complaining....dont take it too badly dear husband coz I know you are reading this,
we got some fantastic homes to live in, and amazing places to discover but before we could put up our feet and say..."aaaaaaaah.... now we are settled in"
we had to move again!!
So I had kind of given up on having a house of my own before we retired....and relegated this dream to the back of my mind under the folder of "maybe"....
and then we came to the U.S.....
Here we live in a high rise in New York and though I was secretly hoping to get a stand alone duplex (that I saw a few of my friends in the US living in) where I could maybe live a part of my dream..
but in hindsight, in a new country-with children,living in a building with a doorman and its other facilities with shopping malls close by is a more practical option...
but here in the countryside (not in the big world of NYC) are some amazing homes that we have come across.....
whenever we have gone to the beaches-we saw some dreamy beach homes,we went camping and came across so many amazing and fairy tale like houses that I couldn't help going-awwww....look at that!
And my dear husband would give me his enigmatic smile and click a nice photograph of it...
he has stored all these photos under the folder "Maryam's dream homes"
I thought I would share some of these photos with you and also some that I have downloaded online.
Enjoy and dream along....maybe, hopefully they'll come true!!

maybe those of you lucky people who do have a home in the countryside or have an individual house, period.... can take inspiration from these pictures  :-)
would love to know what you guys think!!

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