The best things in life are free…and around you always

Its easy to take it all for granted.

The uneventful days that begin with trying to get the kids up for school and end with a kiss and a snuggle. Interspersed are the weekends in the park, a small bunch of wild flowers and the attack by the swans by the lake. Days of watching teletubbies and feeding the totally impalatable weetabix, repeated over and over again. Finishing the snowman in winter because Rhea was too cold to finish it and defrosting the little cold hands when they come back from school. Finishing off leftovers from their plates, playing in the bath with the kids till their skins wrinkle like a washer woman. Being the tooth fairy and being the secret santa.

Of course I worried about lots of things too. I worried that if varun didnt share his toys, he would never be able to get on with anyone in his life. If Rhea was not docile, she would end up being a bully or being bullied i school. Also worried if she would ever grow hair, what if Varun stammered…..luckily none of that happened.

Life moved at its own pace and before we knew it, the mornings were replaced by the well rehearsed rituals of good byes and see you in the evenings. They no longer needed the weetabix or teletubbies. soon replaced by the big bang theory and beans on toast. The hand that i used to clutch while crossing the road was no longer there. instead, my 12 year old was always 2 steps behind me. The little girl , who adored my sense of hair styling, now makes her own hair as well as faces in the mirror, which i fail to comprehend. Life in now a routine of taxi service and cheque signing. I soon learnt that it was important to keep up with them rather than make them listen to us. Gone were those days of teaching them ‘mary had a little lamb’, rather it was time for me to learn ‘ titanium’ and ‘little wings’. I have learnt to be invisible but available when their friends come around.

Slowly they stopped smuggling into our room at night. There were no longer fights to use our bathroom and no one to steal the last piece of cake in the fridge. The bedroom door which had always been open, now remains closed. The boy who was always clutching my leg, now clutches his phone 24/7. It hit me then that i have reached a new phase in our lives: the teenage era. a difficult phase, turning my cute chubby angel into a sulky grown up  alien, who was totally foreign to me. That was a moment of reflection, as to where has he disappeared to…..the moment, alone in bed, when a tear rolls down my cheek, replaying the last argument i had with him, asking myself how and where i went wrong. How did i change from being the apple of the eye of the most adorable baby in  he world to someone not desired at all….i try now to take each day on its own, to dance with the moment, faster and faster. Sometimes i slip, sometimes i glide…..i try all i can to keep up, i cook, fill the fridge with goodies they like, keep out of their conversations with friends, try and act cool…..

in the last few days, i have realised that very soon, my son will fly the nest and i have to start now by letting him go. Another 6 years and rhea will also be ready to take flight. That will be dawn of a new era. The house will be quiet. Rooms that looked bombed at the moment will have an ethereal feel to them. There will be so much of choice on which tv programmes to watch. No acting as a referee or a taxi driver. The most perfect gift in my life will soon cease to exist in its intensity. Of course, love will always be there, the family being stronger and more united. but living int heir own capsules.

Hence i have decided to savour each and every moment now. the simple everyday things in life…..the lazy weekend mornings, family dinners, the kids and us all slumped in a couch, fighting over the duvet and watching a movie, the last minute rush to the stores to buy a pen, the reluctant kiss at night…..i try to look for any sign of the chubby obese child that varun once was. I long for his cheeks to turn red when he would laugh, like it did when he was little. i dread thaT my little princess would soon turn into a young woman and be whisked away to her fairyland by her prince charming.

Nobody told me that the most precious moments were not the ones i had on my holidays abroad, or during special occasions. The most precious moments were those which quietly passed away. I would do anything to hold my baby in my arms again, to feel his soft skin against mine. To bake a cake with rhea and clean the kitchen for hours after that.  To see the pride in her eyes when we would bake a fancy ‘ in her eyes only though’ cake for her birthday… but i know those days will never come again. but i can definitely extend my present!

So i finally learnt to cherish the gift i have, the gift of all those perfectly ordinary days……the gift of my perfectly perfect family 🙂

OREO CHOCOLATE BROWNIES…… ah divine!

 

Birthdays are nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake!!!!

And being born with a sweet tooth, i intend to do exactly that, on diet or not!!!!

A few weeks ago, while going through innumerable food blogs, i stumbled upon this wonderful recipe. The icing on the cake ( pun intended ) was that it fits exactly with the requirements of a food cheat like me……no, its NOT a low fat cake or an eggless cake!!! Its just a no-fuss cake, hence already goes way ahead in my priority list 🙂

There is always some chocolate fudge icing hidden deep inside the cake cupboard, waiting to be used and cookies n cream ice-cream is always welcome in our house. Oreo biscuits , of late, because of clever advertising, has become a ‘must have’ amongst kids, so getting the ingredients together is not an issue at all.

Hence, Rhea decided to make this for mama and of course, with the ever so dutiful helper, aka, me!!!! ( Now i realise all my mum had gone through years ago!!! )

OK, so here goes….

IMG_7884

Collect all ingredients…..

IMG_7909IMG_7912

The main cook mixes it all 🙂 ( mix brownie mix, oil, egg, ice-cream and chocolate icing)

IMG_7915IMG_7913

Layer oreo biscuits over a layer of batter and top it with the remaining batter. ITs so difficult to keep your hands off , even at this stage!!!! Go ahead, you can definitely lick the bowl clean 🙂

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until cooked…. mmmmm, it so delicious……

IMG_7921

IMG_7924IMG_7928

Serve hot with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream……The kids and me finished half of ours within minutes of getting it out of the oven!!!

The Reward: 

Rhea- mum, you are the best!

Varun- uh huh….mmm, its good.

Me: flying high in blissful motherly delight 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

1 pack brownie cake mix

eggs and oil according to the recipe in the cake mix

3 heaped scoops chocolate fudge icing

1/2 cup cookies and cream ice-cream

1 packet oreos biscuits

METHOD:

Combine eggs and oil with the brownie mix as instructed at the back of the box.

add ice-cream and fudge instead of the water.

Preheat oven and spray an 8″ square pan with cooking oil.

add a layer of batter, then a layer of oreos and then cover with a final layer of batter on top.

Place in the oven and cook till done ( takes approximately 40-50 minutes )

Serve hot with a generous dollop of vanilla ice-cream.

 

Whats a fake noodle: an Impasta ;)


 

Staying in a family with 3 generations, food is never an issue in our house. There is always food in abundance, so it a matter of choice for me whether to cook or not! Well, it may sound perfect to some of you, but mind you….its not Jespecially when your motherly instinct kicks in , you make something special for your kids and they say ‘oh, Grandpa just gave me beans on toast!!!’ grrrrrrrr there goes all the maternal affection and the background Bollywood style soft sentimental music.

Last evening was one such evening. I rushed home from work with images of my kids coming bounding to the door, screaming ‘mum, I am hungry, what are you gonna make tonight?!’ and always in my imagination, the first word that comes to mind is ‘pasta’. Anyway, none of that happened, as you would have guessed by now but I still went ahead and made pasta ( the kids , of course, promised to eat it after giving me curious looks aka why is she so excited about pasta?! Its just pasta, for goodness sake!!! )

I just love pasta in all shapes and forms…..it gives you a warm, satisfying feel ( carbs, of course J ) one of the most versatile dishes, can be made in a jiffy, can be modified according to your wishes ( we Indians find it difficult to resist adding a green chilly in the end, even though there is no place for it in the original recipe 😉

  

Firstly heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a thick bottom pan.

Add sausages and cook till golden brown on all sides.

Remove and drain the oil from the sausages on kitchen towel.

Cut it into pieces and keep aside.


Keep water to boil in a large saucepan, add 1 tsp salt

Add 2 cups of uncooked pasta to the boiling water.

Keep a colander ready for draining the pasta when it is nearly done.

 

Add 4 cloves of sliced garlic to the remaining oil in the pan.

Add 2 cups of chopped vegetables ( courgettes, baby tomatoes, sweet pepper, onions, sweet corn, beetroot, in fact add any veg that you fancy….)

Mix well with a large spoon till vegetables are nearly done.

Add the cooked pasta, canned mixed beans and tomato puree.

Add chicken stock ( 1 heaped tbsp of chicken stock granules to one cup of boiling water: I use the leftover water from the pasta )

Mix well with sausage chunks.

 

Season with salt and pepper to taste, perhaps some chopped green chillies too for those who cant do without it ( I definitely need it in everything J )

 

Serve steaming hot with a dollop of crème fraiche or 2 tbsp double cream.

 

Now just sit back, relax and enjoy this heart warming meal.