My Grandma Ivy 2/2/21-9/29/14

Today my Grandmother passed away at 93 years old. She struggled with cancer for the last year and today her suffering ended and she is now at peace. My Grandmother is one of my heroes in my life. I will miss her greatly, but I know that she is in heaven with my Grandfather and is at peace. I love you Grandma! You are so loved and missed.

Ivy May Glavinich: 2/2/21-9/29/14

My Grandmother with her mother

Grandma Ivy with her bother Malvin

My Grandma second from the left at the grand canyon

After her graduation from beauty school! So Beautiful!

Her beautiful wedding!

The start of their 60+ years of marriage, a role model for my own life

Second honeymoon after my mothers marriage

Grandma with her beloved dog Coco

Such love! At my mothers wedding!

At my Brothers wedding, on their 60th wedding anniversary

We threw my Grandma a 90th birthday party

Loving Grandmother

Nothing compares to the love of a grandmother, my daughter adores her Great Grandma

I have not told my daughter yet about her Grandmother , I am not sure she will understand but I hope she always remembers her loving great grandma Ivy!

Preparing to Start Preschool

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My baby girl is set to start preschool on Thursday.  She has been begging to go to school for a year now and finally she is getting her wish. My big almost 4 year old (turning 4 in December) is starting her educational journey.  She has her first day of school clothes bought and ready and today we went and picked out a lunch bag and thermos. She picked a princess one, my girly girl. I am very excited for her this thursday. I am taking the day off of work so that I can be there to drop and pick her up. I want to hear all about it. Though I work full time my mom watches her and preschool really starts the time of outside influence on my precious child. Lord protect my baby and guide her when she is away from the protection of family. I will update everyone on her first day Thursday.

Nepali Momos: Tasty Spicy Turkey Dumplings

Momos a wonderful snack on a rainy afternoon

One day last year I was walking around my apartment complex with my daughter and we met a beautiful little girl almost exactly the same age (10 days difference). She and her family were from Nepal and that day we started a wonderful friendship between the girls and us adults. Nepali culture and Indian culture are very similar in many ways. We enjoyed sharing our cultures with each other. One day I taught my neighbor how to make aloo Paranthas, a Punjabi dish and than she taught me how to make Nepali Momos.

Momos are a dumpling that can be made either vegetarian or with meat. It can be fried or steamed. I honestly prefer the Nepali Style of Momo over the Indian Style. I had Momos when I was in India from a street vender, they were a little dry, fried and spicy.The momos my Nepali friend taught me are very fresh tasting, steamed, and so full of flavor and moisture! These are one of my favorite snack! I thank my neighbor Dipa once again for teaching me this wonderful recipe!

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey meat

1 cup finely chopped red onion

1 inch finally chopped skinned ginger

1 green chili finally chopped

1 large bunch of fresh cilantro finally chopped ( this is an important ingredient and gives the momos a wonderfully fresh flavor! )

6 green onions finally chopped

2 tablespoons coriander powder

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 tablespoon cumin powder

1 tablespoon garlic salt.

i package of won ton or round Asian wrappers.

1. Place onion, chili, ginger and green onion in the chopper and grind to fine pieces. If cutting by hand make sure to cut very finely.

2. Chop the cilantro finely.

3. Mix the ground uncooked turkey in a medium bowl with the chopped vegetables and cilantro.

4. Add the spices, mix well!

5. You can use either the round or the square wonton wrappers for Momos. Last night I used the square ones but in the past I have used the round ones as well. There are many different styles of making dumplings. The basic idea is that you need to put a spoonful of the mixture in the middle of the wrapper and seal it. Have a bowl of water handy for wetting the ends to seal them.

turkey meat filling in the wonton wrapper

Here is a great link describing different ways to fold dumplings. They all work its just a matter of skill and preference. I am not great at folding the wrappers, I care more about the over all taste. Click here for folding Dumpling instructions

My funny shapped Momo! Totally not a food artist!

My makeshift steamer

frying the steamed momos for my husband

6. If you have a steamer use it because that is the best, but you can also create a steamer by putting a metal colander in a large pot of hot boiling water. That is what I had to do because I do not have a steamer.  Place the prepared momos in the steamer, cover and steam for 8-10 minutes or until the insides are cooked. You can eat them steamed or you can fry the steamed momos to give them a different taste. I prefer steamed while my husband likes them fried.

Serve with whatever dipping sauce you desire. Last night we had it with Thai sweet chili sauce and it was wonderful. There is a special Nepali sauce made for momos made of tomatoes chili and sesame. I have included the recipe below.

The results some fried for my hubby and some steamed for me

Chilli Sesame Momo Dipping Sauce

Ingredients
4 tbsp sesame seeds
6 dried red chillis
2 tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp fresh coriander
1/4 cup water

To Make
1. Heat a dry non stick frying pan or wok over a medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and toast for about 1 minute, stirring often, until lightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. In the same dry pan, place the dried red chillis and the whole tomatoes and heat for about 2-3 minutes, turning ever so often to ensure even roasting. Remove from the pan and set aside with the sesame seeds.
3. Combine the sesame seeds, chillis, tomatoes, crushed garlic, coriander and water in a food processor and blend for a minute into a sauce. Now you can dip your yummy momos in it!

Momos are great with a cup of Chai and honestly steamed they are not the worse thing for your waist line!

The Wonders of a Pressure Cooker

The Science behind it

As I sit in my kitchen watching my Daal cook slowly on the stove top in a conventional pot I yearn for my pressure cooker. We left it behind during the move to California and we have not yet bought a new one.

releasing steam

For those that don’t know the wonders of a pressure cooker, it is a pot that uses the power of steam to speed up the cooking process by alot!. It looks like a normal pot  but has a top that completely seals. On the lid there is a whistle that releases steam when it becomes too pressurized. Some models whistle every few minutes while others contentiously release a bit of steam.

When I first started dating my husband I remember I had gone to his apartment and he was making some Indian potato dish and was pressure cooking the potatoes. As I sat watching him cook, which has never again happened since we married, I was startled by the loud and sudden release of steam from the pressure cooker. It sounded scary and dangerous!  Even after we were married I was scared to use the darn thing!

Alot of Americans are afraid of pressure cookers. In the past there were accidents caused by pressure cookers, and since then there has been a fear of using them. The reality is that pressure cookers are alot better made and there are no longer accidents being caused by them. They are safe!

Pressure cookers are very commonly used in India and by Indians abroad. I have yet to see an Indian household that did not use one! Oh and with all these pressure cookers in the Indian community I have not seen a single burn from these ” dangerous” pots.

In India lentils and dried beans are a staple in most peoples diets and the process of cooking dried beans takes a long time. No one wants to waste the time or the gas ( which is expensive) to heat the pot for that long. Pressure cooking is a time and energy saver. 

Once I started to use a pressure cooker I became addicted to it! I can cook a whole pot of daal ( lentils) in less than 10 minutes! its great for chili, garbanzo beans, potatoes, black beans, vegetables, and meat! It cooks everything fast and it tenderizes and infuses the food with wonderful flavors! You can cook a whole chicken in 25 m minutes and it will come out tasting amazing! An other great thing about pressure cookers is it saves you money. Dried beans and lentils are incredibly cheap in bulk, and the pressure cooker makes them so easy to prepare. The Pressure cooker is my most favorite tool in the kitchen! I cant wait until we get another one ! Until then I will be waiting hours for my meals to finish cooking….. Sigh…….

Insult or Over Sensitivity?

Recently my husband, daughter and I went to visit a friend and his aunt. For the sake of this article lets just call her Aunty Ji. I have known Aunty Ji for over 4 years now. Let me start by saying that she has a history of saying some hurtful things in the past to me and my husband. She told my husband that he “caused the CURSE of having girl babies” to his friends. My husband was the first of his friends to have a baby and after him the rest of his friends had girls as well. I personally think it’s a blessing, but to her it’s a curse! She had in vitro fertilization done at 48 after years of infertility, and paid the extra money to ensure she had a boy. She has said other rude things as well about my weight, my culture, my husbands family. I thought that her bitterness was caused by her frustration over not being able to conceive.

We actually avoided seeing her for some time because we were tired of the rude comments. So after about two years of not seeing her we decided to meet up with our friend who happened to be at his aunt’s house for the weekend. So we took a deep breath and agreed to come see him. We hoped that with her being able to have her son she would be secure and not need to make bitter comments.

We all greeted at the door and then went and sat down. Within ten minutes of being there Aunty Ji said that my daughter was far too thin. We explained that she was exactly average and was 50% height and weight at her last checkup. She then turned her attentions to me. She started relatively nice, saying that I should try nutra system to help lose weight. She explained how she had lost 25 pounds and simply ate the food in the program. I was not super offended. I am overweight so I get why the topic was brought up and she seemed like she was trying to be helpful.

We all went to Gurdwara and she was pleasant the entire time. We went back to her house and she then started commenting on how fat I was again.  She was not so kind or helpful this time around. She went on and on about how I really needed to diet. I tried to steer the conversation to another topic, but she kept going back to the same topic of my weight! She then said something that stopped me in my tracks! She said “Tina you know you should have one chin not two!” She said this in front of my husband and his friend. I felt humiliated! I could feel my face glow from embarrassment! My husband’s friend, her nephew, popped up and said Aunty Ji that is too much! She then got defensive and said “ I am just being a friend!”

I wonder if she was just “being a friend”? Did her lack of English skills cause her intention to come out wrong? Her track record of being rude makes me think, she wanted to embarrass me.  To put me down so she felt better. I hate the fact that out of everything that I am and do, fat is the one thing that is most talked about!

Talking behind someones back can be incredibly hurtful

Is communication really that different in our two cultures? I do know that in India people tend to be more straightforward and say what they mean! So if they feel you are fat then they may say you are fat. While in the United States people tend to talk about people to other people. So they tell their other friend that you are fat!  This does not imply that one culture is more rude than the other, just different styles of being rude. There are jerks everywhere, just some talk behind your back to hurt you while others do it to your face to make you feel inferior. Both of these styles are incredibly hurtful.

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The stress to be thin is very common!

I am not sure if I plan on going back to that Aunties House again, her comment left me with a terrible feeling inside. I want to say it did not affect me but it did! I am working on my weight through eating healthy and working out but those comments made all my efforts feel pointless. I am more than just my weight. There is so much more to talk about.

I just thought I would share it here because the topic is still bothering me. Has something like this ever happened to you? How did you react? Do you think that people need thicker skins or that others need to control their comments? I would love to hear your opinions.

Coconut mixed oil, naturally taming my daughters mane!

My daughter has alot of hair! She has had tons of hair from her first day of life! On top of that its very curly.To calm the mane and fluff I use this awesome hair oil I got from the indian store.   Its called Dadur Vatica and has a mixture of coconut, henna, and caster oil to encourage hair growth, condition, and protect.Dabur Vatika Enriched Hair Oil - Coconut It works wonders on my daughters hair! I oil her hair once a week and then wash it out. On crazy hair days I will use a tinny bit in my hands and just play with her hair and it becomes so much more manageable.

Crazy hair before oil

Crazy hair before oil

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All pretty

After oil :)

After oil 🙂